'cola', 'coke/Coke' and 'Coca - Cola'

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daniar

Senior Member
Bulgarian
Hello native English speakers.
I'm a little bit confused about the words: ' cola', 'coke/Coke' and 'Coca - Cola'. According to the Oxford Dictionary, ' cola ' should not be capitalised, it's 'Coke' when we refer to the type of fizzy drink and 'coke'- when talking about 'a black substance that is produced from coal and burnt to provide heat, and when coke = cocaine. There's an example sentence: ' Can I have a Diet Coke, please?'. So my questions are:
1. Do you agree with these statements because I've seen native speakers who don't capitalise 'Coke' even if they mean the type of drink?
2. Is 'Diet' in the example above always capitalised, I've seen it in lower case, too?
3. Is there any difference in meaning between 'cola', 'Coke' and 'Coca - Cola'? Do I have to write 'TM' after 'Coke' and 'Coca - Cola '?
Thanks in advance
Appreciate all your answers.
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hello.:)

    I'd capitalise the brand names (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke), but it's also true that there's a big debate going on about capitalisation these days, some people might disagree with me. And no, I wouldn't write TM after the brand name unless the context required it.;)
     

    daniar

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Thanks sdgraham. I see there are many regional differences. I'd be really grateful if some Britons say if there is any difference in the UK.But what about my second question and is 'Coca - cola' correct because I've just seen it written that way in the thread you suggesed me to see? And what about the 'TM' sign? Is it necessary in formal writing?
     

    daniar

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Oh. I was late. Thank you london calling. Is there any difference between the tree names in Britain? Could you please explain to me what you mean with 'if the context required it'?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    As far as what we do in the UK goes:

    1. A capital C is more often than not used for "Coke" to refer to the drink, although in pratice it's not usually ambiguous.

    2. Diet Coke I think is probably used because it's almost the equivalent of a proper name.

    3. Yes. The word cola is a generic name for the drink and covers Pepsi and all the other brands. Coca-Cola is generally shortened to Coke in speech, and increasingly in writing too. You don't add TM in ordinary use, even though the words are actually registered trade marks.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thanks sdgraham. I see there are many regional differences. I'd be really grateful if some Britons say if there is any difference in the UK.But what about my second question and is 'Coca - cola' correct because I've just seen it written that way in the thread you suggesed me to see? And what about the 'TM' sign? Is it necessary in formal writing?
    I'm English. Have you read my reply?:)
     
    Last edited:

    aasheq

    Senior Member
    English (Estuary)
    "Coke" alias "Coca-Cola" is the brand name of this disgusting drink. It needs an upper-case "C". With a small "c", "coke" is short for cocaine.
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    Hello.:)

    I'd capitalise the brand names (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke), but it's also true that there's a big debate going on about capitalisation these days, some people might disagree with me. And no, I wouldn't write TM after the brand name unless the context required it.;)
    Brand names are always capitalized if the owner of the name spells it that way, e.g CocaCola, not coca cola; IBM, not ibm; or Cadillac, not cadillac.

    The brand-name owners would like people to write the TM or Registered mark, as applicable, at least after the first mention of the name, particularly in publications; but it isn't often done. Similarly, the owners of some brands want you to use the word "brand" together with their name. e.g. Xerox brand copier, Kleenex brand tissue, etc. Some of them are very fussy about this, and if you should publish material without either the TM, a "Registered" mark, or the word "brand," strong letters will ensure.

    Failure to properly protect use of their brand names, caused quite a few, such as zipper and aspirin, to lose the exclusivity once owned by their manufacturers.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Brand names are always capitalized if the owner of the name spells it that way, e.g CocaCola, not coca cola; IBM, not ibm; or Cadillac, not cadillac.
    Thanks for the lesson, Mutt. What I meant was that these days capital letters are being used less and less regardless..I did not say I agree with it (I don't) .
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    >>You don't add TM in ordinary use, even though the words are actually registered trade marks.<<

    Just to clear up what seems to be some confusion. TM may be applied by anyone to any brand name or trademark. It merely signals that the user considers it proprietary and will probably -- or already has --apply for actual "registration" status with the US Patent Office. If and when registration is granted, it is connoted by use of the "register mark," an "R"within a circle, and has quite a different legal status than the TM.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Right, Mutt, you have to register a trademark in the UK too.;)

    In any case you wouldn't add the symbol for a registered trademark to the name of a product either, if not when required by a specific context.;)
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    As a foreigner, I may add that it is extremely puzzling to me that the brand Coke-Cola allow its name to be associated to the deadly substance, 'coke'?! It's like they advertise for each other...?!
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    As a foreigner, I may add that it is extremely puzzling to me that the brand Coke-Cola allow its name to be associated to the deadly substance, 'coke'?! It's like they advertise for each other...?!
    No company or government, for that matter, can stop millions of people from using a widespread slang expression.

    The Coca-Cola company could discard it's long-held trademark, of course, but think about whether any company with an annual revenue of $48 billion (2012) based on that trademark would care to do so.

    Realistically, there's no problem ... no more than people should stop talking about cracks in their driveways just because it's become a common expression for a form of cocaine.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    As a foreigner, I may add that it is extremely puzzling to me that the brand Coke-Cola allow its name to be associated to the deadly substance, 'coke'?! It's like they advertise for each other...?!
    There is no way a company ... or a government for that matter .... can control slang expressions used by millions of people.

    As for the Coca-Cola company. It grossed $48 billion based on its trademarks last year. I doubt if the corporate executives are losing any sleep over it.

    Realistically, we don't stop calling equines "horses" just because "horse" is a street name for heroin.

    Perhaps that's a horse of a different color.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    By the way, the original Coca Cola formula contained a high percentage of cocaine, and even now the formula contains cocaine-depleted coca-leaf extracts. It is thus no coincidence that the two substances share the same name.
     
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