You might hear both “simpler” and “more simple” used in speaking. In particular, when the speaker wants to emphasize the word, they might opt to use “more simple”. However, the correct form is “simpler”.
When using comparatives, a good rule of thumb is to count how many syllables are in the word. For words with 1 or 2 syllables, you add “-er” to the word. For words with 3 or more syllables, the correct usage would be to add “more” in front of the word.
Since “simple” has 2 syllables, it is correct to add “-er” to the word. The correct comparative form is “simpler”.
Simple – Simpler – Simplest
Isn’t this much simpler than you thought?!
Author: Katy Lia, Cambly Tutor
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Modern => more modern ….and TWO syllables.
Complex => more complex … also TWO syllables
Indeed. I was taught one uses more for two-syllable words when the emphasis is on the first syllable, like with your examples and with famous and anxious. This rule hasn’t failed me since highschool until it occurred to me that people do say simpler. And airier.