Simple vs. easy?

Hi what is the difference between simple and easy? I mean can something be simple but not easy to do? For example, driving a car acually is simple but if for beginners it is not easy. Is this use of these adjectives correct?
Thank you all!

Hi Nicole,

An interesting question! Both point towards describing something as not difficult. Easy very often indicates or refers to a task or job that is not difficult to complete or perform. Simple indicates that the subject it is describing is in itself (intrinsically) not complicated or difficult and very often doesn’t have anything unnecessary added to it.

We can say: It is easy to use a washing machine because the instructions are simple.

Two adjectives that are often used together to indicate that something is very clear are: pure and simple. If you take both your adjectives and turn them into adverbs: easily and simply, you perhaps get another idea of their difference:

You can easily (without difficulty) use this machine because you simply (that’s all you have to do) follow the instructions.

Just some thoughts


Good evening Alan. I must admit your explanation is easy to follow as usual. This is simply a great place to learn how to use English words in various contexts. Thank you!