I have one question which completely confused me.

How does it work? Very simple! or Very simply!

I would go for "very simply" since I feel I need an adverb. I would use "very simple" if the answer was "it is very simple". But then I asked couple of people and they would all go for "very simple" which confused me. (none of them was a native speaker though)


You can use either one but it depends on how you want to use them. Here are couple of examples:

Joe - "How does it work?"

Shmoe - "It's very simple, just plug it in!"


Joe - "How does it work?"

Shmoe - "Very simply! You just plug it in!"

Using only, "very simple" would in most cases be an incomplete statement, while using "Very simply" can be it's own statement and will be in most cases, but can also be used in statements like, "You very simply plug it in."

But it's uncommon to say "very simply," you would instead just say "simply" as in "You simply plug it in!"



It has been pointed out that my answer repeats some of the information given in Michael Rader's answer. Apologies for not reading that carefully enough.

The answer has been given in comments. I'll formalise it as an answer.

How does it work? Very simply!

This indicates that the method or machinery operates in a simple fashion. For example:

"How does it work?"

"Very simply! You turn this crank handle, the gears spin and the product pops out at the other end."

How does it work? Very simple!

The phrase 'Very simple' is an abbreviation. It could be expanded to, "That's very simple!" and in that form it refers to the forthcoming answer (not the question as someone intimated). Here's a full version:

"How does it work?"

"That is very simple to answer! You merely press this button and it leaps into operation."

  • So if in a speech there is this line: "How does it work? Very simple! First you will have to be a member.... " is it actually correct? Because now based on your answer I would say it is the abbreviation you mentioned. Am I right or not? Thank you – klarauhlirova Sep 30 '15 at 12:42
  • 1
    Wow way to rephrase my answer. lol – Michael Rader Sep 30 '15 at 12:47
  • @MichaelRader - On re-reading your answer, I see I have indeed repeated some of the information you give. Apologies for that. As I have added a little extra and corrected a problem from the comments, I'll let my answer stand. – chasly from UK Sep 30 '15 at 12:56
  • @klarauhlirova - Yes, I agree with your reasoning. – chasly from UK Sep 30 '15 at 12:57

Absolutely, You have to say

It's Very simple!

Explanation: The word "simple" can be noun or adjective - it depends on the context (Check it in the dictionary). Anyway, when you say "very" before "simple", normally it's adjective. So, actually you take two adjectives and use them together, while the first one is as superlative.

On the other hand, when you say "simply" it must describe an adverb, and it's used to describe verb only! (e.g. "She did it simply" or "They did it very simply") rather than nouns or adjectives, and that's why you should say "it's simple" rather than "it's simply".

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