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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, March 2

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a lex / May 27, 2004 11:18 AM

Refresco! Just kidding...

Actually, when I was growing up it was always "pop" but now I just say "soda."

Of course, when I am at home and it is just the husband and I, we use the sickeningly sweet "cokie" as in, "Schmoopie, would you like some cokie?"

I know, kill us now...

jennifer / May 27, 2004 11:18 AM


Naz / May 27, 2004 11:21 AM

Alex - *puts finger down throat and gags*

Just kidding. ;) You too make me (sweetly) sick.

brian / May 27, 2004 11:22 AM

I began hating the word pop from an early age, and have always used the word soda. That came from my parents, who have been in the Midwest long enough to have switched to pop themselves.

Gordon / May 27, 2004 11:22 AM

SODA. "Coke" is either a drug or a mixer, and "pop" is a sound effect. Apparently I'm the norm for my home county (Peoria county, in Illinois, duh).

A lex / May 27, 2004 11:23 AM


Well, you know at home we also refer to you as "Nazzie" ;)

shechemist / May 27, 2004 11:28 AM

pop. sometimes soda pop. but usually just pop.

Archie / May 27, 2004 11:37 AM


Carly / May 27, 2004 11:41 AM


St. Louis-"soda"

Chicago again-"pop" and "soda"...whichever suits my mood.

"coke"-never, unless of course, that's what I'm drinking.

A little off topic...does anyone know what they call ATM's in Minnesota? It's something different...

miss ellen / May 27, 2004 11:50 AM

some people call the ATM just MAC, like MAC-machine, but i thought that was more on the east coast...

nowadays i find myself saying "soda" more, but i get weird looks when i'm around chicago. "pop" just sounds so nasal-y midwest ;)

Amanda / May 27, 2004 12:02 PM

Linguists and civilians agree -- the Dictionary of American Regional English provides hours and hours of wholesome, regionally-inflected linguistic fun.
Visit its online home here:

Andrew / May 27, 2004 12:12 PM

Soda, or often the nicely generic "soft drink." When I was a kid I we called it all coke.

(Ellen, I call it a cash station, no matter what branding is on it. With one exception: Wisconsin has "Tyme Machines," which I think is so dumb I *have* to call it that.)

eliza / May 27, 2004 12:25 PM

Coke, but then I am a displaced southerner :)

Esteban / May 27, 2004 12:34 PM

Jaritos. Siempre Jaritos!

anne / May 27, 2004 1:00 PM

Coke, y'all. I'm displaced as well. I think i said "pop can" at home for Christmas a few years ago and my mom nearly wrecked the car. Never again.

daruma / May 27, 2004 1:13 PM

DEFINITLEY POP. Soda is clear, nasty seltzer water; Coke bad, Pepsi good. SO JUST POP!

Carly / May 27, 2004 1:20 PM

Thank you Miss Ellen...MAC is it!

Speaking of regional inflections, if you've ever taken a voiceover/broadcasting class, then you've been told to lose any hint of association to a particular area.

I felt bad for one of the guys in my class whom my teacher was trying to rid of his "ebonics". And someone once told me his teacher tried to nullify an exchange student's accent.

It's quite hard to be "neutral".

Cinnamon / May 27, 2004 1:40 PM

My mother grew up in Southern California and was used to calling it soda. When we moved to very rural Ohio and she heard people bastardizing what she considered correct language, she became adamant that my brothers and I would escape rural Ohio without having a hick accent. So it was soda, we never said ain't, or dun'did'it. I'm glad that she did this because I saw how hard of a time my rural classmates had it in college. While I got many funny looks in Ohio for saying soda, I've yet to get one in Chicago.

lacey / May 27, 2004 1:50 PM

I'm displaced as well (on purpose): Coke. But if we got odd looks from the "northerners" we would say soft drinks. Or Moutain Dew, whatever.

amyc / May 27, 2004 2:03 PM

I grew up in Michigan saying "pop." But during a year in Boston, "soda" crept into my vocabulary and hasn't left. But I usually just say "Coke" because that's all I'll drink -- it's the only soft drink that's worth a damn. Pepsi is for Communists!

Naz / May 27, 2004 2:51 PM

No! Pespi is the shiznit.

Heather S. / May 27, 2004 3:08 PM

I grew up in the Chicago 'burbs saying "pop". I thought it was strange when I went to college in Iowa when cashiers would ask "Do you want a 'sack' with that?" Sack? It's a shopping BAG.

Craig / May 27, 2004 3:16 PM

Grocery stores must be *the* place to go to hear regional colloquialisms-- in the south they call a shopping cart a 'buggy'... The fu*k?

Ann VanMoxie / May 27, 2004 3:17 PM

About six years ago, I began the process of training myself to say "soda", after a lifetime of "pop", because it seemed to make more sense. At least my New York-raised husband has quit the annoying habit of playing dumb whenever anyone said "pop." We all know what we mean, except when people use "Coke" as a generic, or just "cold drink." That just doesn't make sense to me.

'That Ian' / May 27, 2004 3:20 PM

Dude, I honestly don't know. I usually just refer to the beverage by name (i.e. Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, etc).

I'm truly stumped which is far from commonplace.

Mike / May 27, 2004 3:56 PM

I'm a "pop" guy myself. But being half Peruvian, I always had a choice of "Inca" (Kola) or "Coca" (Cola). Then there was orange drink...

Kris / May 27, 2004 4:35 PM

Y'all know I'm a southerner too, and I grew up calling it all Coke. "Hey, can I get a Coke?" "Sure, I've got Pepsi or Mountain Dew!" As befits my mimic tendencies, I've adopted "pop" since I've been up here. Also, as a waiter, I can always tell the southern tourists because they will try to order Dr. Pepper, which you can get in almost any restaurant down there, and almost none up here. (And then there's sweettea, but that's another story.) Ditto on bag/sack. Shopping buggies, I think, are a Deep south thing; I never called them that, but I have friends who do.

Kate / May 27, 2004 4:37 PM

There's one that hasn't been mentioned here, which I think is specific to the Boston area: tonic. I don't say it but some of my relatives do; the correct pronunciation is "TAW-nick." You can pick up a tonic at the neighborhood spa (small mom and pop corner store). For reference, see the movie "Mystic River," inter alia.

Jake / May 27, 2004 4:58 PM

Grew up in Michigan saying "pop." Affected "soda" sometime in late highschool/college because it seemed more cultured. Now I feel like a self-conscious dork no matter what I say.

I'm just glad I switched to Diet because a Big Gulp of regular Coke has as many calories as a Big Mac.

anne / May 27, 2004 5:00 PM

I {heart} sweettea.

Vit / May 27, 2004 5:29 PM

Pop. My sister came back from California saying soda, I still give her a hard time.

schecki / May 27, 2004 5:30 PM

-grins at Jake- Same here, with the Mich/Pop/Soda thing. Now I just say Vodka.

Eliza / May 27, 2004 5:43 PM

Anne - me too. I hate to say that the best sweettea that I have found in Chicago is at Starbucks. But it's because they use simple syrup, which is totally the backbone.

Now if I could just find a decent chicken fried steak...

dce / May 27, 2004 6:51 PM

Speaking of pop, I just bought $127.93 worth of pop for my office. We need caffeine.

christian / May 27, 2004 10:09 PM

Mr. PiBB.

Ok, I think I tend to call it "soda". Sometimes Coke, mostly at restaurants thinking that?s what they serve, only to be told they didn't and would Pepsi be ok. Like I give a damn, just give me my sugar water with caramel color and leave me alone.

Sometimes to be annoying I say ?cola type soda beverage?.

Brandy / May 27, 2004 11:04 PM

Minnesota raised = pop.

A Hawaiian collegemate of mine thought the term pop was just _obscene_.

Doug / May 28, 2004 12:48 AM

SODA god damn it. Coke is trademark degredation, pop is for small children who identify objects by the noises they make, and I can't think of anything else to call the stuff other than soft drink, which would be just horrendous conversationally.

Perverted Rice / May 28, 2004 1:23 AM

Shaapin' at Jewels for pop (pronounced: ), the old house brand was: Yummy! If you brought Yummy to Little League when it was your turn for pop, your family was cheap!

If it's all the same to you, lean toward specially-marked bottles of Pepsi products this summer, for entry codes into the Billion Dollar Sweeps. Think of what you could do with all that money! Put Gapers Block honchos on faboo salaries. (Or, equally, "kill 'em all!")

Did some of you *really* utter the words "soft drink" in a restaurant? That's . . . quaint.


pat jurgaitis / May 28, 2004 8:00 AM

i probably lean towards pop, but not by much. in my house, my mom was really big on not using trade names, so if at a restaurant we'd ask for a "coke" she'd correct us immediately and say "cola" and then a 5 minute lecture on not knowing whether or not they serve coke, pepsi or the jewel's brand.

given the chance now, i just say beverage or bevvies.

Miranda / May 28, 2004 8:33 AM

Soda. Absolutely. But then, I'm from South Central PA and have also always thought that we should just give Pittsburgh to Ohio because they say "pop" there too (ok, that's just one among many reasons...).

And it took me at least a year or two to re-train myself to say "ATM" instead of "MAC Machine."

emily / May 28, 2004 9:54 AM

SODA! "Coke" is a soda brand and "pop" is a sound effect.

East Coasters unite.

Jake / May 28, 2004 10:09 AM

Anybody ever hear the phrase "road soda" used to mean beer? I find that hilarious and scary.

Anybody else remember Towne Club? It came in like 100 different flavors and sold for like a dollar for a wooden case of bottles.

Pete / May 28, 2004 10:23 AM

"Pop" because I'm a Chicago lifer, but sometimes "soda" just to differentiate myself.

holden / May 28, 2004 10:41 AM

Pop. Iowa born & raised. It is the differences among us that make life interesting & enjoyable. If we all said pop then we wouldn't even be able to enjoy this discussion.

No mention of 'Barley pop' for beer?

Doug - i've never heard my Dr. Pepper go "pop!". if it was called by the sound it makes, it would be called "Fizz".

I hadn't ever noticed the grocery sack vs. bag issue. But looking back on my high school years in grocery 'sack-ing' i would agree that 'sack' is the term i used. paper or plastic, ma'am?

Andrew / May 28, 2004 11:07 AM

Anybody else remember Towne Club?

I do. I'm sort of disappointed that it's becoming harder to find Canfield's products, too. Gimme some 50/50!

pat / May 28, 2004 12:36 PM

Those from the LC (lake county) might remember Glen Rock Pop. It came in hundreds of flavors (okay maybe scores or dozens of flavors)in great 8oz bottles that were perfect for parties. the bottling co. was oddly enough on Glen Rock Ave in Waukgan, and you could pick out any dazzling array of flavors there, or i remember lots of drug stores and liquor stores around lake county carying it too. the bright green lime pop clearly was the best. mmm mmm.

Diane / May 28, 2004 12:47 PM

I'm a pop girl - Rockford born and raised. I've always been vaguely creeped out by the term "soft drink." Let's see, it's a drink... and it's... soft...hrm.

But my favorite regionalism was when I spent four years in Michigan and discovered that Ding-Dongs were called King Dons. And they thought THEY were the normal ones!

Aimee / May 28, 2004 1:33 PM

SODA. With the northern "o" so it's actually something like "sooda."

Kris / May 28, 2004 2:07 PM

(hijacking the thread for a moment)

Miranda, Carly, Miss Ellen: I just had the MAC-machine conversation a few nights ago with my stage manager, who's from Jersey. When she moved here for school, she had a male dormmate on her floor named Mac. And (see where this is going yet?) one night before going out on the town, she made the mistake of saying to her friends, "I've just gotta tap MAC before we go."

Jen / May 28, 2004 2:54 PM

Pop. The first time I heard someone call it "soda" I thought it sounded ridiculous.

And can someone tell me when the hell Diet Rite became expensive?? Didn't that used to be the cheap pop? Damn.

Jen / May 28, 2004 2:58 PM

Also, I just mentioned this to a friend, and he said that in San Antonio everyone calls all pop "Coke", including clear pop. So one would go to a restaurant and say, "What kind of Coke do you have?" Sprite is Coke. Weird.

paul / May 28, 2004 4:26 PM

Soda, but just cause I'm from the east coast. Soft drink is spoken out there, but now it sounds more like what someone doing market research calls that category of liquid refreshment product.

As for MAC's and Jersey, and call it an ATM, but only because I've been out here too long - either cash machines weren't invented yet, or it was back when I didn't have any to take out of a machine anyway.

emily / May 28, 2004 4:50 PM

I've never heard of MAC, and I was born and raised on the East Coast. I've always known them as ATMs. Maybe Northern Virginia is too far south to be in MAC territory. What does it stand for, anyway? Machine that Advances Cash?

Jake / May 28, 2004 4:51 PM

You people made fun of me when I moved here from Iowa four years ago and kept ordering "pop." "Soda" sounds waaaaay too pretentious and "Coke" has the same corporate mind-creep weirdness as "Kleenex," so I usually order a "Coke or Pepsi."

Rebecca / May 28, 2004 5:12 PM

Pop. But after going to school in Iowa, with many people from non-midwestern states, I sometimes accidentally call it soda. It's a horrible transformation. It's Pop.

Maureen / May 28, 2004 11:35 PM

I grew up in the South but somehow escaped without the accent and calling it "soda"--somehow my Chicago cousins' pronunciation of the word "pop"--"pahhap"--made me reluctant to use the word. Then I moved up here for school. And it's slowly started creeping in. I've even said it out loud a couple of times.

andrew / May 29, 2004 7:13 PM

"soda" because i'm Jersey-raised, but it took a while for my family to switch from "coke" after moving from Texas when i was 5. now they all live in Lake County (except for me, in Chicago), and my sisters call it "pop". we're a multi-cultural family, i guess.

sometimes i'll order a Coke because i want a Coke. if the server asks "is Pepsi okay?" then i say it isn't, and order something else. don't they have to tell you if they only carry one brand over the other? and: it is far too difficult to track down Dr. Pepper, i refuse to settle for Mr. Pibb. anyone else a big fan of Big Red?

"MAC" stands for Money Access Center. i stopped calling them that when i went to school. i dislike using "ATM" because those are my initials, but "Cash Station" or "Cash Machine" (which is what I say when travelling abroad) just sound ridiculous. sometimes i switch back to "MAC" in advertantly, last time i said it my girlfriend had no clue what i was talking about.

Brian / June 18, 2004 9:06 PM

POP! Many of my friends who are transplants say soda, I usually just ignore them They'll have to learn eventually right?
On a side note... this website graphically tracks the regional usage of the various terms.

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