What do you call the kitchen appliance with a heated, enclosed space for baking, and between two and four burners for other types of cooking? If you speak American English, you probably call it an oven, stove, or range, or use some combination of the three interchangeably. But they don’t all mean the same thing, and while ovens are the most obvious, there’s some slight disagreement on what counts as a stove and range. For example, here’s how Whirlpool distinguishes between an ovens, stoves, and ranges:
Oven: An enclosed cavity for baking, roasting, and broiling
Stovetop or cooktop: An open, flat surface containing multiple burners used for frying, boiling, searing, and sautéing
Range or stove: A two-in-one standalone appliance with both an oven and stovetop
But meanwhile, according to home appliance specialist Rosedale Service, the difference between a range and a stove comes down to the number of burners: a standard home stove has four burners, while a range is larger and has six, eight, or 10 of them.
Of course, this is all pedantic, and people will understand what you mean when you ask them to set a pot on your stove, range, cooktop, or even oven. But regional usage may differ in ways that we often don’t expect, and sometimes being a pedant is fun, as long as it’s without judgment or condescension.