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Confusing Words: Hang, by Dennis Oliver


Confusing Words:


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



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

a. hang / hung / hung

b. hang / hanged / hanged




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


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.




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.


The murderer was hanged as punishment
for his crimes.





Special Notes


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

He hung his head in shame.


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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