Hang Today–What Yesterday?

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

On Forensic Fridays, we dissect the English language to see what it’s made of and how to use it properly.

Today, we’re going to take a look at the verb to hang. This will be a short post, because there’s not much to say about it, but what little there is can be very important.

The problem with this little verb is that it has two different conjugations. The more familiar conjugation would be hang, hung, hung for the present, past and past participle, respectively. However, it can also be hang, hanged and hanged, for the respective tenses.

What gives here? Are these two conjugations interchangeable? Do both carry the same meaning.

In a way, the do both carry the same meaning. Both mean to suspend, but they are not interchangeable.

The word hanged for the past and past participle is specifically used to describe using a rope to execute someone or to commit suicide. The cattle rustler was hanged for his crimes. It would be improper to say he was hung for his crimes. To the best of my knowledge, that is the only proper usage of hanged.

For all other purposes, we use hung for the past and past participle of this verb. The picture hung on the living room wallwe hung the new lamp in the corner—he hung up the phone.

Just remember to use hanged when referring to something a hangman did, and otherwise use hung.

What grammatical misuse bothers you? What particular area of grammar would you like help with? I’d love to hear and help.


For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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