According to my study, "change the bedding" seems bigger than "change the bed".

So, I asked Chatgpt

Chatgpt says

When you say "I change the bed every week," you are likely referring to changing the sheets, pillowcases, and possibly other items that directly touch the body, such as blankets or duvet covers.

When you say "I change the bedding every week," you are referring to a more comprehensive task that involves not only changing the sheets and pillowcases, but also possibly washing or replacing other items that are part of the bed, such as the mattress pad, bed skirt, or decorative shams. This phrase suggests a more thorough cleaning and maintenance of the entire bed.

But, from the information in the dictionaries, I think there is a simpler explanation. "Change the bed" might refer to change the sheet or the bed cover, but not blankets or pillow covers

and "change the bedding" might refer to change the sheet or the bed cover, and also blankets or pillow covers.

change a bed = change the sheets on a bed [=remove dirty sheets from a bed and replace them with clean ones]

bedding noun /ˈbedɪŋ/ /ˈbedɪŋ/ [uncountable] the sheets and covers that you put on a bed, and often also the mattress and the pillows

When do we say "I change the bed" and "I change the bedding"?

  • 1
    Chatgtp is talking out of its arse. Changing the bed[s] and changing the bedding are just two different ways of saying the same thing. But bedding is far more common for this context. Jul 21 at 16:53
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    I’m voting to close this question because it seems likely it's only being asked because of something chatgpt (incorrectly) said. Confirming or refuting assertions made by LLMs is (or at least, imho should be) Off Topic Jul 21 at 16:58
  • 1
    In your first sentence, you have "change the bedding" twice. Which did you mean is "bigger"?
    – gotube
    Jul 21 at 17:10
  • 1
    Where does the second block quote come from? It doesn't seem like something that ChatGPT would write. Jul 22 at 19:22
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    @MarcInManhattan, from the dictionary
    – Tom
    Jul 23 at 5:58

2 Answers 2


"Change the bed" is just an idiomatic way of saying "change the bedding" (the sheets, the pillow covers, duvet covers etc). A similar example is how "change the baby" is an idiomatic way of saying "change the baby's diaper/nappy". Really, there is no difference. If "change the bed" were literal, it would mean surely mean exchanging every part of the bed frame!

As a native British English speaker, I don't agree with what you got from Chat GPT at all. For a start, not every bed has things like a 'bed skirt' (these are considered quite old fashioned). And extras like 'mattress pads' (which is a very broad term and could be anything from something to protect your mattress against incontinence to a mattress 'topper', which some feel adds extra comfort) and 'decorative shams' are not necessarily changed with bedding anyway, if ever (mattress toppers may last as long as a mattress).

  • A person on Quora here says "I may be pedantic but, when I change the bed, I put a new sheet on it. When I change the bedding, I take a shovel and remove the sawdust and chicken shit from the coop. The bedding is all that whatever rests on it rests on. You can consider that to mean the whole mattress, the hay, the sawdust, etc. If you change the bed, the bed stays put and what is on the bed gets replaced.", which is similar to what I guess!
    – Tom
    Jul 22 at 13:39
  • I would never ever say change the bed. I say change the sheets for that.
    – Lambie
    Jul 22 at 14:57
  • @lambie Cool story! People do say it, though.
    – Astralbee
    Jul 22 at 16:20
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    Even so, it's amazing that no one said change the sheets. Change the bed may be British but it is not used in the States.
    – Lambie
    Jul 22 at 16:21
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    @Lambie but Americans do say "change the baby", so it can't be that unusual. You also say "put the baby down", instead of "down to sleep", or "to bed". Sounds like you're taking it to the vets to be euthanized.
    – Astralbee
    Jul 22 at 17:31

To my Canadian ears, there's a difference similar to what ChatGPT has told you.

"Change the bed" is what you normally do every week or so when you replace the used sheets with clean ones.

"Change the bedding" is what do you do when there's some need to change the bed clothes other than regular use, like if the bed has been soiled and needs to be immediately changed because it's unusable, or because the seasons have changed and you need lighter or heavier bed clothes.

  • This agrees with my (British) understanding entirely. But I would suggest there are other circumstances in which you might "change the bedding"when you change from winter to summer weight blamkets, duvet etc - or any time, for whatever reason you intend to do more than simply change the sheets.
    – WS2
    Jul 24 at 14:43
  • @WS2 Agreed, and thanks. I've updated both definitions
    – gotube
    Jul 24 at 23:29

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