“Hanged” vs. “Hung”: What’s The Difference?

The word hang is an example of a verb whose past tense and past participle form depend on what the word is being used to mean.

In this article, we’ll explain when and how to use both hanged and hung and provide some example sentences that show how they are typically used.

Quick summary

Hung and hanged are standard past tense and past participle forms of the verb hangHanged is only used in the context of the act of killing known as hanging, as in The Hangman game ended quickly; I couldn’t guess the word, and the figure was hanged. For all other senses of hang, the word hung is considered the standard form, as in We hung the laundry on the clothesline or I hung out with them after the game.

Is it hanged or hung?

Hanged and hung are both standard past tense and past participle forms of the verb hang. For almost all senses of hang, though, the form that is considered standard in both instances is hung.

  • I hung the portrait over the fireplace.
  • Cass and her friends hung out at the mall.
  • He hung his head in shame.

Hanged is only used as the past tense and past participle of hang in the context of the act of killing known as hanging.

For example:

  • Before the abolition of the death penalty, the king hanged many notorious criminals.

A verb is typically considered to be an irregular verb if its past tense and/or past participle is formed without using the standard -ed or -d endings used in regular verbs. This is usually the case with hang: the irregular form hung is used in most instances, while hanged is only used in the one specific context.

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Verbs similar to hang

The conjugation of hang to hung or hanged is unique as far as verbs go. The regular verb drag arguably has the closest pattern to hang. Drag is conjugated as dragged in standard English. However, some American dialects use the word drug as a conjugation of drag, in which case either drug or dragged is used as the past tense or past participle.

Still, there are irregular verbs that end in -ing that follow the same pattern as hang (when it is conjugated as an irregular verb). In these cases, both their past tense and past participle forms end in -ung.

For example:

present tense past tense past participle
hang hung hung
cling clung clung
wring wrung wrung
fling flung flung
swing swung swung
sting stung stung

Examples of hanged and hung used in a sentence

Here are some example sentences that use either hung or hanged.

  • We hung a string of lights above the door.
  • She hung her coat on the rack.
  • The object of the game is to correctly guess the word to prevent your stick figure from being hanged.

Have you seen this article on "seen" vs. "saw"? Read about how to use them!

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