Should soft drinks be called soda or pop?
Such a question may seem innocuous, yet this particular one has inspired seemingly timeless debate and differing opinions. While some loyally adhere to one particular title, others disagree, and still others view the titles as interchangeable, even arbitrary. In fact, the hybrid numeration “soda pop” still retains popular usage, whether in coincidental nurtured habit or intentional avoidance of the dilemma altogether.
Can a true, conclusive answer be reached with any sort of finality, or will “Should soft drinks be called soda or pop?” remain a query for the ages? In the end, absolute clarity remains doubtful, as there are a few obstacles on the path to landing on a single preferred usage.
Just as someone from Wisconsin may call a “bubbler” what someone from Ohio may call a “water fountain,” there are simply some terms that certainly differ depending on the location of the speaker, and the environment in which they have been raised to hear the particular nomenclature used. In some areas, the word “sandwich” may suddenly become a complicated endeavor as to whether to call a submarine-style version a “hero” or a “hoagie.” This same predilection toward region-defined use applies toward the choice of “soda” or “pop” as well, and may remain in place for quite some time, especially in the United States, as population subsets stick to what they have always known and used.
Although debating whether should soft drinks be called soda or pop may garner some earnest passion and strong opinion from some, the fact remains that there simply does not need to be an answer. There is no reason that the world requires there to be one singular, absolute, unique designation for all soft drinks everywhere. Yes, it may be simpler and consistent, but the nature of language often disallows such distinctions. For example, when something is of a high quality, what adjective do you use to describe it? You may call it “excellent,” “terrific,” “exceptional,” “great,” “good,” “above-par,” or even simply “high-quality,” not to mention “fabulous,” “fantastic,” “wonderful,” or other terms, depending on the nature of the excellence.
If there is an answer to the “should soft drinks be called soda or pop” question, perhaps it is this: The answer, much like the answer to many others of life’s questions, depends on the situation at hand, and may differ on a case-by-case, person-by-person basis. Does a certain person feel much more comfortable using “soda” and would feel anxious using “pop”? Then that person should probably stick to “soda” and that is likely the solution. Just as with any other situation demanding a decision in word choice, people should select their words in the way that would most effectively and efficiently deliver their message in order to communicate their idea. Using “soda” or “pop” is no exception.