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Confusing Words: Hang, by Dennis Oliver

 

Confusing Words:
Hang

 

The common word "hang" is often confusing. This happens
for several reasons:

 1.

 

There are actually two quite different meanings
for hang and these meanings have different forms:

a. hang / hung / hung

b. hang / hanged / hanged

     

2.

 

One of the common meanings for hang is
"to suspend." The forms for this meaning are
hang / hung / hung.

Examples:

Where can I hang my coat?

Who hung that picture in the living room?
It's crooked!

They've hung stockings on their fireplace
every year at Christmas. It's a family tradition.

     

 3.

 

The other common meaning for hang is
"execute by hanging" (using a noose). This
meaning is generally used in passive voice.
Its forms are hang / hanged / hanged.

Example:

The murderer was hanged as punishment
for his crimes.

 

___________________________________________

 

 

Special Notes

1.  

Hang is also used with head to mean
"incline to a lower position" or "bow":

He hung his head in shame.

     
2.  

There are several common phrasal verbs
and idioms using hang:

be hung up on / about (be fixated or
unnaturally worried about something)

hang around (wait)

Hang in there! / Hang on! (Don't give up!)

hang on (wait; survive despite difficulties)

hang up (replace the receiver during
a telephone call)

hang-up (noun: unnatural or extreme
worry about something)

 

All of these expressions (except the noun
hang-up) use the forms hang / hung / hung.
The forms hang / hanged / hanged are used
only for meaning #2 ("execute by hanging").

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