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Learning whether to use articles in English such as “the,” “an” and “a” can be a confusing part of the language.
So when it comes to the phrase, should we say “simple is the best” or “simple is best?”
The short answer is that both of these phrases are okay to say, but it is more commonly said as “simple is best.”
If you are interested in grammar and usage, check out Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker. This will help you understand if a sentence is grammatically correct.
What does “simple is best” mean?
“Simple is best” means that it is better to keep something simple, rather than complicated.
An alternative or more common phrase that you might hear native English speakers say is “keep it simple.”
“Simple is best” is a phrase where “best” is an adjective and therefore doesn’t need to take an article.
“Simple is best” and “Simple is the best”?
While both of these phrases are correct, “simple is best” is probably the phrase you want to use.
When it comes to grammar, the idiom always prescribes the grammar; these types of phrases don’t necessarily follow grammatical rules.
Similar idiomatic phrases include “mother knows best.” Here, “mother knows the best” sounds wrong to native English speakers.
As you can see from Google Ngram Viewer, “simple is best” is clearly the leading phrase.
Example Sentences with “Simple is Best”
- I want a simple lifestyle. Simple is best.
- When you start out cooking, you might get overwhelmed by a recipe book. Simple is best.
- Don’t overcomplicate your business procedures if you are a one-man show. Simple is best!
When it Might Be Appropriate to Say “Simple is The Best.”
There may be some cases where you would like to say “simple is the best.”
For example, let’s say you wanted to play a video game and you had to choose the level of difficulty: simple or pro mode.
You decide that simple mode is the most simple. You could say here that “simple is the best” when you are referring to this particular option.
If you are referring to an overall concept, you might want to use “simple is best.”
It is acceptable to say either “simple is best” or “simple is the best.”
While grammatically speaking, both phrases are correct, you might want to stick with “simple is best.” In idiomatic phrases such as this, what sounds right for native speakers will generally be the safest choice.
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