Simple vs Simpleton
Simple and Simpleton are two words that are often confused as one and the same word due to their similar morphological appearance. Strictly speaking they have drastic difference in their meanings for that matter.
The word ‘simple’ is used as an adjective in the sense of ‘something easily understood or done’. You get the meaning of ‘presenting no difficulty’ as in the expressions ‘a simple explanation’ and ‘a simple task’. The word ‘simple’ gives the exact opposite meaning of something ‘not complicated or elaborate’.
In other words any thing that lacks extravaganza or sophistication is called simple. Anything that lacks luxury is called simple as in the expression ‘simple living’.
Similarly someone who is very plain in appearance or manner and is unsophisticated is called a simple person. Sometimes the word ‘simple’ is used to indicate the quality of humility. A humble person may be called as a simple person.
The word ‘simple’ has its own adverbial form as ‘simply’ as in the sentence ‘he ran simply fast’. In the given example the word simply is used as an adverb.
On the other hand the word ‘simpleton’ indicates a person who is foolish in nature. Thus the word ‘simpleton’ is wrongly used by many to refer to a simple person. The sentence ‘he is a simpleton’ actually means ‘he is absolutely foolish’. The intention of the speaker might have been to praise his humility but in the end he calls the distinguished person as a fool!!
One has to be very careful in the usage of the two words ‘simple’ and ‘simpleton’. The word ‘simpleton’ also means ‘gullible’ and ‘half-witted’. It is important to know that the word ‘simple’ is derived from the Latin ‘simplus’. In English grammar a sentence with a single subject and predicate is called a simple sentence.