Simplest or Most Simple: Correct Superlative (UK vs. US)

Using superlatives can be confusing. When do you use the word “most”? When do you tack on ‘-est’ at the end of a word? This article discusses the correctness of “simplest” and “most simple”.

Simplest or Most Simple?

Both “simplest” and “most simple” can be considered correct. However, “simplest” is more grammatically correct than “most simple” because of the nature of the root adjective “simple”. Under the rules of grammar, ‘-st’ is added to words that end in the letter ‘e’.

simplest or most simple

In casual everyday conversation, you can hear both “simplest” and “most simple” being used interchangeably with one another. Both of these are two ways to refer to the highest degree of being simple or the superlative of the word “simple”.

Under the rules of grammar, you can get the superlative form of words that have two syllables (like simple) by either adding the letters ‘est’ to the end of the word or adding the word “most” in front of it.

When the word ends in the letter ‘e’, as the word “simple” does, the rule is that you add the letters ‘st’ to the end of the word. Thus, “simple” in its superlative form is “simplest”.

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Simplest

“Simplest” is the most grammatically correct way to refer to the superlative, or the highest degree, of being simple.

Because the word “simple” ends in the letter ‘e’, the rules of grammar state that you need to add the letters ‘-st’ to make the superlative form of the word.

As such, the most grammatically correct way to refer to the superlative of simple is “simplest”.

Below are examples of how to use the word “simplest” in a sentence:

  1. The simplest way to cook an egg, in my opinion, is to make a hard-boiled egg.
  2. I don’t know why he’s making it so hard for himself; that is definitely not the simplest way to do it.
  3. Don and Ervin work fast because they look for the simplest way to do their tasks.
  4. It boggles my mind how you forget the simplest of instructions.

Most Simple

“Most simple” is one of the ways to refer to the highest degree of being simple. While it is not the most grammatically correct way to refer to the superlative, the phrase is commonly used in everyday conversation.

“Most simple” is another way to refer to the superlative of “simple”, other than the word “simplest”. They can be used interchangeably with one another.

It is commonly used in everyday conversation despite “simplest” being the most grammatically correct way to refer to the highest degree of being simple.

Below are examples of how to use the phrase “most simple” in a sentence:

  1. Kyle forgets the most simple of instructions, sometimes.
  2. What is the most simple song I can learn on the guitar?
  3. Myra makes the most simple Christmas dinner I’ve ever seen, probably because she works on holidays.
  4. It is the most simple line in the play, I don’t understand why you can’t say it properly!

Simplest or Most Simple In the UK?

In the United Kingdom and other areas that use British English, “simplest” is more popularly used than “most simple”. This is based on data from Google Ngram Viewer, from books written in British English that were published between the years 1900-2019.

Google Ngram Viewer allows us to compare how often certain words and phrases are used in a wide range of books.

simplest or most simple UK

Based on data from books published between the years 1900-2019 that use British English, we can conclude that “simplest” is more commonly used than “most simple” in the United Kingdom.

It should be noted that the popularity of “most simple” is much less than that of “simplest”, which has remained constant from 1900 to 2019.

Simplest or Most Simple In the US?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “simplest” is more commonly used than “most simple” in the United States and other areas where American English is used. This is based on data from books published between the years 1900-2019 that use American English.

We can use Google Ngram Viewer to compare how often certain words and phrases are used in a wide range of books.

simplest or most simple US

“Simplest” is the most popularly used superlative form of “simple” in the United States, based on data from books published between the years 1900-2009 that were written in American English.

The phrase “most simple” has been used far less frequently than “simplest”.

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