If something is simple, it’s easy or it’s not difficult to figure out a solution. This word is an adjective.

  • This problem was solved with a simple solution.
  • A simple plan improved the transportation system.
  • The best recipe is one that’s simple.
  • Most students agreed that the math problems on the test were simple.

You’ll notice that this word is often used on this website when describing verbs in the simple form. Teachers also call the simple form the base form or the infinitive form of the verb:

  • Use the simple form of the main verb following a modal verb.
  • The simple form of the verb is used when making a verb negative or when asking a question.
  • It’s important to understand the difference between the simple form and the past tense.
  • simplepastpast participle

When used to describe a person, the word "simple" means that a person is not very smart or just average.

  • He seems to be kind of simple.
  • Todd is a simple man.
  • It’s obvious that she prefers simple men.
  • A simple-minded solution did not fix the problem.
  • Simple-minded people prefer to take short cuts without challenging themselves. ("Simple-minded" is a hyphenated adjective in these last two examples.)

The meaning of the word changes slightly when in the form of an adverb, "simply." In this case, it can mean an action is easy, or it’s similar to intensifying words such as "just" or "very."

  • Simply pop the box in the microwave for a few minutes and you’ll have dinner.
  • This food is simply delicious.
  • Her ideas are simply ridiculous.


As farmers, they have very simple lives.

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January 19, 2014