The Red Pen: “Balling” vs. “Bawling”

We Need to Talk About Grammar is a weekly feature in which I complain about grammatical mistakes I encounter all too often. Feel free to commiserate below, and check out the archives here!


This is a quick one today, guys.

“Balling,” often colloquially spoken and written as “ballin’,” basically means “awesome,” or, in some cases, “talented” or “rich.”

“Bawling” is the correct synonym of “sobbing,” “crying,” etc., as in, “He was bawling like a baby.” “He was ballin’ like a baby” has a completely different and quite nonsensical meaning.

So, in short, if you’re crying, you might be bawling, but you’re almost definitely not ballin’.

Vol. 5 ballin gif

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