The culture of pop versus soda

You say to-MAY-to, and I say to-MAH-to. But what you say when it comes to requesting soft drinks depends on your geography. Forget red states and blue states! Our country is divided between pop, soda and coke, with some really strange preferences thrown into the mix.

In last our last eNewsletter, we described some cultural differences in breakfast preferences in various geographic of the United States. Geography also affects language, with what you choose to call a soft drink a prime example. Ask for “coke” in the South, thinking you will get a Coca-Cola, and instead, you'll get the reply, “What kind of coke?” In the South, coke means any carbonated soda. In the Midwest (with the exception of the greater St. Louis area), you need to ask for pop or you will get a funny look, and in Northeast and California they will only understand if you call it soda. Confused? Then remember that some folks in the Smokey Mountains and parts of the Carolinas use the term dope, and parts of eastern New England call carbonated soda drinks tonic.

Below is a map showing the regional differences. For more information, check out