Soda vs. Pop: What Do You Call It?

March 7, 2013 | By | Comments (36)

Linguistics have always fascinated me. Why does the phrase “ya’ll” roll off of my friend from Atlanta’s tongue, but forced and awkward coming from mine?  I just can’t get away with it, and instead opt for the more formal, drawn out “you all” like most of my other New York counterparts.  Similarly, why do I refer to a long sandwich as a sub when my friends just an hour or two south say hoagie or grinder?

Sprinkles or jimmies? Tennis shoes or sneakers? The list goes on an on, but you can’t forget perhaps the most widely contested: soda vs. pop.

This map, which examines the regional variations in the terms used for carbonated soft drinks,  stopped me in my tracks. I was so intrigued by some of the data, like the fact that in much of the South soft drinks are most commonly referred to as “coke” (maybe because Coca-Cola is headquartered there?), and even took the time to input my own location and preference.

What do you say? Is it consistent with what the map says about your region?

Check out the best fruit sodas.


  1. eclecticlamb

    I grew up in a soda region and now live in a pop region. I still say soda.

    March 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm
  2. Melissa

    I’m from Alabama and we’ve always called it “Coke.” “What kind of Coke do you want? You can have Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, etc.” My mom grew up in Pennsylvania and as kids we thought it was hilarious that our relative from there called it “sody-pop.”

    March 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm
  3. sportsmom

    In Texas, everything is coke. And…I definitely say “y’all.”

    March 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm
  4. Kristina

    I live in the Chicago area, but have said “soda” my whole life. Even in Iowa, it’s all Coke. Orange coke is the weirdest phrase I have ever heard…

    March 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm
  5. Audrey

    Soda! From Wisconsin, but from Tennessee, so…

    March 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm
  6. Ashley

    I’m from Minnesota and have always said pop. When I move east in the fall I plan to continue with pop rather than soda. :)

    March 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm
  7. Jen

    It is tonic! I grew up outside of Boston and either call it tonic or soda.

    March 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm
  8. Casey

    I’m from the Detroit suburbs and say pop. However, I do not say tennis shoes, sneakers, et cetera. I say gym shoes.

    March 8, 2013 at 1:39 am
  9. MC

    soda, soda, soda

    March 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm
  10. Joy

    In Michigan, it was pop. Now in Az. it’s soda, down south it was a sody pop.

    March 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm
  11. shortstacklabdana

    In the west it’s soda.

    March 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm
  12. kwc

    SC/atlanta girl here: we specify. you only hear “coke” because that’s exactly what we drink! you might also hear “sprite,” “ginger ale,” “root beer,” etc… but NEVER “pepsi”! :)

    (and we spell “y’all” as a proper contraction of you + all, for future reference.)

    March 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm
  13. Kristin Nelson (@kristinnelson)

    In the west, it’s pop!!

    March 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm
  14. mary ann

    I’m from Indiana, and have never said anything but coke or soft drink,
    And only tennis shoes.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm
  15. Hazel

    Born & raise in Boston, MA’s Tonic, subs, sneakers, you guys, and frappes (aka milkshakes everywhere else)

    March 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm
  16. rebeca

    coke. i grew up in texas.

    also, it’s Y’ALL. not ya’ll.

    March 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm
  17. Judy


    March 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm
  18. Victoria Roberts

    In Massachusetts it’s tonic. I also concur with the subs, sneakers, and frappes. Not this Frappay nonsense that McDonalds is pushing.

    March 25, 2013 at 7:12 pm
  19. Sheryl

    I’m from Oklahoma and it’s “coke”!

    March 25, 2013 at 7:15 pm
  20. Faith Marthe

    I spent the majority of my life in North Dakota and have never said pop. I have always said soda or tonic. My relatives live out east and some still have some English roots, so that might explain it.

    March 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm
  21. Debbie

    I’m in CA and say “soda”. But then seeing that my mom from Hawaii and dad from Illinois would both say “soda”, that’s probably why it was always “soda” for me, no matter where we lived. (We moved around while growing up since dad was in the Navy)

    March 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm
  22. Sherry Lane

    I’m from Michigan, and it’s definitely pop !!!

    March 25, 2013 at 7:55 pm
  23. craftygirlga

    All soft drinks are called Cokes and there is y’all or for let’s of people all y’all.

    March 25, 2013 at 7:56 pm
  24. Chris W

    I was born & raised raised in NYC but now live in Florida and I joke that ” My soda goes Pop when I open it!” (:

    March 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm
  25. Linda Vanags

    Live in IL and have always called it pop!

    March 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm
  26. Leian Leverence Wunderlich

    As a child in the south side of Chicago we called it ‘soda pop’. Both parents were from south side of Chicago, so not sure how that label came to be. Nowadays just call it ‘pop’.

    March 25, 2013 at 8:20 pm
  27. Jane Nicholls

    Soft drink (from Australia!).

    March 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm
  28. LF

    Grew up calling it pop in Minnesota. Moved to Wisconsin and have called it soda ever since….until I go back to Minnesota that is!

    March 25, 2013 at 10:34 pm
  29. Leanne

    In Canada, it’s pretty much universally “pop”, The only people I have heard call it “soda” are either originally from the U.S., or have spent a lot of time there.

    March 26, 2013 at 12:03 am
  30. Sarah

    In Michigan you drink pop and bake with soda.

    March 26, 2013 at 12:04 am

    In New Orleans, our soft drinks are called “coke” and then you specify actual Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, etc. and our foot long sandwiches are always poboys (unless they come from Subway)! My cousins and aunt in Minnesota always made me giggle with their reference to “pop”.

    March 26, 2013 at 10:41 am
  32. Anna

    True story: After 18 years in Virginia I move to Kansas and am walking through the grocery store looking for the soft drink aisle. I walk up and down the front of the store reading all the signs above the aisles but can’t find it. I happen upon a stocker and ask him where the aisle with “soft drinks” are, adding “soda pop” in response to his bewildered expression. His eyes light up and he turns slightly to point to the sign above the aisle we were standing in front of. I read the sign top to bottom then bottom to top looking for “soft drink” or “soda” on it. Finally it hits me, toward the bottom, three little letters that my brain had been dismissing over and over again, “POP”

    March 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm
  33. stratusphr

    In Texas, a soft drink is a ‘coke’ – then we’ll ask y’all what kind, coke, DP, 7-Up etc Soda or pop, this is a sure fire way to know who’s an “outsider” – meaning, not a southerner .
    Uttering “You guys” is likely to get you thrown out of any bar in the Lone Star State.
    I’m just sayin’

    April 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm
  34. Mrs. A

    I’m from Tennessee and I drink soft drinks/sodas, eat subs (my grandparents liked hoagies), put sprinkles on my sundae, and wear sneakers, although most people here wear tennis shoes. However, I realize I’m different from most of y’all, but not all y’all.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm
  35. Marie

    I grew up in Michigan where they call it pop. Spent 9 years between Florida and South Carolina where it is soda. Even though I’ve been back in Michigan for 17 years I still call it soda. It’s not an issue worth fighting about though.

    October 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm
  36. bob

    Henry Reinhardt’s Has the best black cherry in the world ! It`s got vanilla in it.

    January 14, 2015 at 6:18 pm

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