When something is understandable or transparent, we say it is clear. Some examples would be – ‘The water is crystal clear’¸ The concept is ‘clear’.
Clearer, clearly is the comparative degree made in a similar manner as many other adjectives that end with -er and -est in comparative and superlative forms. For example, thicker, weaker, sharper, colder, darker etc…
In general, words with one syllable use -er to form comparatives. Thus, clearer is a natural comparative choice for clear. Examples –
- The sky is clearer today than yesterday because it rained.
- Thanks to your notes, I am clearer with the concepts now than I was before.
- Rain water is clearer than the tap water that you brought.
There are some words that aren’t satisfied just by adding -er to make comparatives. They want something ‘more’. These are the words with multisyllables. For example, more beautiful, more horrible, more careful etc…
Even though clear has only one syllable, the word ‘more clear’ is in usage for a long time now, and though we don’t know how it came into existence, as of today, it is perfectly valid. You can always replace clearer in all the above examples with more clear.
- The sky is more clear today than it was yesterday because of the rains.
- Thanks to your notes, I am more clear with the concepts now than I was before.
- Rain water is more clear than the tap water that you brought.
You may not be totally convinced with this replacement, but it is grammatically correct. Also, even if you are not fully satisfied, read the second example, you might feel much better. In the second example, the usage of ‘more clear’ looks perfectly appropriate. This could be because the sentence has a more formal tone.
Which means, apart from the fact that usage of clearer or more clear is a personal choice, we can use ‘more clear’ for formal sentence structures. Examples –
Clearly, because of the -ly, becomes an adverb. Adding more before clearly, can be correct in some contexts, but not all. Example –
Open the windows so that I can see clearly. Open the windows so that I can see more clearly.
Here, both the sentences are correct.
I want to make my purpose more clear. I want to make my purpose more clearly.
See the difference in both sentences. The second sentence is grammatically incorrect. If we replace the word make with “express”, the second sentence would be correct while the first one will become incorrect.
I want to express my purpose more clear. I want to express my purpose more clearly.
Similarly – how to talk more clearly in front of others? And not – how to talk more clear in front of others?
Clearer is already a comparative form, more is also used for comparative. It is meaningless to use two comparatives at the same time. Hence, it is incorrect to say “more clearer”.
Clearly, clearer is more clear in terms of the natural choice based on the syllable rule of grammar. However, we can use ‘more clear’ as well, especially for formal tones or talks, which is perfectly fine!