English has been characterised by the variability of its spelling throughout history, since it was only standardised by the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Other than its history of unstability, the resulting orthographic system would be marked by two events. On the one hand, the original spelling of the borrowed lexicon was adopted and incorporated into the system, which would provide the English language with orthographic input from disparate sources (Cook 2004; Salmon 1999). On the other hand, the standardising process was completed before the end of the Great Vowel Shift, which means that phonological changes thereafter would not be reflected in spelling (Nevalainen 2006; Cook 2004). These circumstances would eventually influence the orthographic depth of the language. Indeed, the English is a deep orthographic system that constantly violates the one-to-one principle (Cook 2004). Such a state of affairs fueled the protests that Milroy and Milroy (2012) dubbed as the ‘Complaint Tradition’ and which addressed the lack of transparency of the new orthographic system. On the premise that “it is so hard to spell English” (Yule & Yasuko 2016: 414), countless attempts at spelling reform have surfaced in dribs and drabs since the sixteenth century until today (Crowley 2012). Though the present state of English orthography corroborates that these proposals have remained largely unsuccessful, the simplification exercise in words like colour/color, anaesthesia/anesthesia or kilogramme/kilogram (Gramley et al. 2021) is often employed as an argument to justify the aforementioned proposals. In light of this discussion, the coexistence of both forms in Present-day English raises the following questions: How are the competing forms distributed today? Do speakers show preference for the simplified forms? If so, is this simplification indicative of spelling reform or are phenomena like Americanisation responsible?