Hanged vs. Hung: Differences in Meaning and Use

Explore the difference between hanged vs. hung. Get a clear definition of each and when to use them through sentence examples. Get a quick and easy guide for when hung and hanged should be used.

hanged vs hung definition examples hanged vs hung definition examples

Hanged vs. Hung: A Deadly Difference

Hanged and hung are really confusing words. Why? Because they both look like they could be used as the past tense of the word hang. While that’s true, whether you use hung vs. hanged depends on the definition of the word. Hanged is only used as the past tense for hang when hang is defined as "killing with a rope around a person’s neck." When you use hang to mean suspended, then you use hung. For example:

  • During the Salem witch trials, suspected witches were hanged at the gallows.
  • The poster I hung in my room was crooked.

When to Use Hung

Since hung is the word you’ll most often use in a sentence, you can look at that one first. Hung is the past tense of the verb hang and has a few different meanings. Just a few of these mean:

  • suspend; like a picture on a wall
  • droop or decline; like drooping your head
  • pay attention
  • cling tightly; like to a rope
  • spend time, relax

Therefore, you’d use the word hung for each of these different definitions.

Hung in a Sentence

Since the verb hung can have a lot of different uses, check out a few fun sentences to see this word in action.

  • She hung the rug on the line to let it dry.
  • We weren’t exactly sure we hung that picture in the right place.
  • When the gamer lost the competition, he hung his head in defeat.
  • The YouTuber hung his head sadly when his channel was canceled.
  • Pam hung on every word of her favorite idol as he spoke on the TV.
  • The climber hung tighter onto the rope as he began to slip.
  • If she would have hung tighter onto the swing, she might not have fallen and broken her arm.
  • She had just hung with her friends for hours after the two-week quarantine ended.
  • We just hung out watching TV. It was chill.

When to Use Hanged Properly

While it might seem like they could interchangeable, hanged and hung are not. The only time that hanged is used in the past tense is when it discusses death by hanging. Hanged is used as both the past participle and past tense of hang in this sense of the word. Explore a few sentences using the word hanged to get a clear understanding of this usage.

  • In the early 1900s, you could be hanged for treason.
  • The person to start the rebellion was hanged in the town square.
  • They hanged the emperor to send a message.
  • It was determined that he hanged himself.
  • The convicted killer was hanged to death.

Hanged vs. Hung: A Quick Guide

Still, having a bit of trouble keeping hanged and hung straight? Not to worry. Use this quick guide to help you keep these two words clear.

Term:

Hanged

Hung

Definition:

death by using a rope around your neck

suspend; droop or fall; pay attention; hold tightly; relax with friends

Part of Speech:

verb

verb

Example:

The judge ordered the murderer to be hanged until death.

She had a hard time getting the shelf straight when she hung it.

Memory Trick for Using Hanged vs. Hung

In most contexts, you use hung. So, if in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of hung. However, an easy way to remember the two is to use the phrase:

Pictures are hung, but people are hanged.

It’s a simple and easy phrase to know when to use hanged or hung.

It’s All About Hang

Since hang has a lot of uses, hanged and hung can get confused. These two terms are not interchangeable and both have their own uses in English. Interested in learning more fun confusing grammar words, check out further vs. farther. You might also want to take a peek at begun vs. began.

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