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Writing Tip: Hanged vs. Hung

Writing Tip: Hanged vs. Hung

You’ve probably heard the words “hanged” and “hung” used interchangeably many times, but have wondered about their proper usage.  This will hopefully clear up the debate for you.

Both “hanged” and “hung” are past-tense forms of the word “hang.”  With that being said, when do you use each?  To keep things simple, hanged is the term used when discussing the killing of a person with a rope.  It’s certainly not a fun topic to discuss, but it can come up in writing at times.  Here’s an example:

Saddam Hussein was finally hanged for his crimes in 2006.

Regarding hung, use this term when you are referencing an object or item that you are hoisting up.  Here’s an example:

Janet hung the new curtains she had purchased in her bathroom.

Now, certain reference books say that you can use hung in either instance.  Still, if you want to be more conventional in your usage, remember that hanged is for people or animals and hung is for inanimate objects.

Want to know where this can get a bit tricky?  What if a man decides to hang himself?  What would you use then?  You would use hung.

Thomas ended his life and hung himself in the bathroom due to financial troubles.

Remember this exception.

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