Pop vs soda

It’s a preference that divides families, outs you as someone not from around these parts, and makes whoever’s not in the majority an object of ridicule.

It’s the age-old question that no one can agree on: pop vs soda?

(I found an interesting overview of the history of names for carbonated beverages, if you’re interested in taking a look.)

photo from the Pop vs Soda Page

In the part of Illinois where I grew up, everyone called it pop.

My relatives in St. Louis liked to point out how wrong we are because down there, it’s soda.

Going to college in southern Indiana, I was confused as to how you can order a coke when you really want a Diet Pepsi.

After I moved to North Carolina, I knew that whatever you chose to call it – soda or coke – it wasn’t a pop.

Living in North Dakota felt a bit like coming home – it’s pop up there – but it felt weird to call it that after nearly a decade of being around people calling it soda.

So now that I’m back in my hometown, I still call it soda.  My son, like any bilingual child, uses the two interchangeably.  My dad, perhaps harkening back to an idyllic/imaginary childhood in the 50’s (or perhaps just trying to be funny), often calls it sodeepop.

When it comes up in a story, I check this handy website to make sure my characters are saying it right for their location.

What do people call it where you live?  How do you react when someone calls it something different?


  1. Thanks for linking to the Pop vs Soda page; nice blog post. I just wanted to point out that I recently updated the map to one that I think is much prettier: http://www.popvssoda.com/images/pvslayered%20cmyk-01.png. I hope you like it!

    Alan McConchie
    The Pop vs Soda Page

  2. It’s definitely prettier, but unfortunately it doesn’t have the state lines like the one I used. I wanted to keep those for my US-geography-impaired readers.

  3. Lol! I remember having this arguement with my cousins when I was little (I from Colorado – pop, they from Missouri – soda) Over here, in Germany, they call it cola. Fun post!

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