English vocabulary: words that are used differently across the US

Most students are aware that there are differences between British English, Australian English and American English; but did you know that American English also differs from state to state within the country itself?

Across the United States of America (USA), Americans use completely different words for the same items, along with different pronunciations. In this post we are going to look at some of the words that differ from region to region within the USA.

1. Pop/Soda – This is probably one of the biggest divides in the USA and I personally have noticed it many times. In the northeastern part and southwestern part of America (states such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, etc.) this carbonated beverage is called ‘soda.’

If you live in the northern part of America – Washington, Michigan, and all the way to Kansas – it is called ‘pop’.

2. Drinking fountain/water fountain – In the US you will come across these in stores or schools. In the western states, the phrase used is ‘drinking fountain’ but in the middle and eastern states, they are referred to as ‘water fountains.’ Some cities even call them ‘bubblers’.

3. Sneakers/tennis shoes – The shoes that you wear on your feet for running, biking or walking are called ‘sneakers’ or ‘tennis shoes.’ Most of the United States calls these shoes ‘tennis shoes.’ However, the northwestern part of the USA (such as New York, Pennsylvania, etc.) refers to them as ‘sneakers’.

4. Highway/freeway – This is another interesting divide among Americans. The west coast, states like California, Washington and part of Nevada, calls this kind of road a ‘freeway’. However, the rest of the country calls it a ‘highway.’

image: velostricken