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Which is correct: “soda” or “pop”?

Is it correct to say soda, or is it pop, or is it soda pop?

My friend and I are going back and forth: he says soda is "Soda ash" (Sodium carbonate) and pop doesn't sound right (ie, "a loud POP", or the "pop" music).

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary gives

SODA (definition 2)
a : soda water 2a b : soda pop c : a sweet drink consisting of soda water, flavoring, and often ice cream

a beverage consisting of soda water, flavoring, and a sweet syrup

POP, noun (definition 2)
soda pop

So which one is right? Which would be the correct grammar usage, would I use both, neither or what?

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marked as duplicate by Mahnax, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, tchrist, FumbleFingers, StoneyB Dec 19 '12 at 2:00

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

It's conventional around here to consult a standard reference such as a dictionary first, and then ask us about any residual confusion. If you don't do this, the question is likely to be closed until you do. If you don't mind, I'm going to edit your question to show you what we prefer it to look like. (Well, actually, I'm going to do it whether you mind or not, but you can always edit it back.) – StoneyB Dec 19 '12 at 1:45
Your answer contains a false premise: that exactly one of those two is “correct” — whatever that means. English simply doesn’t work this way. To ask the question means you grossly misunderstand the richness and the variability of the English language and of people in general, not to mention circumstance and dialect. – tchrist Dec 19 '12 at 1:52
And your edit just made it all worse. This has nothing at all to do with grammar. It really doesn’t. It is purely a question of local vocabulary. There is no possible right answer. There are plenty of things in the English language that are each known by dozens of different unrelated words depending on where you are and who is saying it. This is one of them. – tchrist Dec 19 '12 at 1:54
This is a classic variation depending on geographic location: soda in the northeast and California, coke in the South, and pop in a swath from western NY through the midwest (see a map). So which is correct depends on where you grew up. – Mitch Dec 19 '12 at 3:51

They're all "correct", and none of them, as the answers at the other end of Mahnax' link will tell you.

Things can have many "correct" names. So can people. You yourself are probably known by one name to the Internal Revenue Service; by another to your friends; by yet another to your Mother; and on occasion by annoying vulgarisms or embarassing pet names.

"Correct" depends on context and community.

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