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Thread: hung or hanged

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    Default hung or hanged

    Does anybody know the difference between "hung" and "hanged"?

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    Jamgirl is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: hung or hanged

    Hmm... Let me think of some examples and then maybe we can work it out...

    'She hung the washing out to dry' - past tense of hang

    'He was hanged for committing murder' - this use is also past tense of hang, but is more to do with the act of hanging someone.

    Is this right folks? Any further input gratefully received.

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    Default Re: hung or hanged

    If they're people, they're hanged. Anything else is hung.

    I have always been struck by the irony of some of the lyrics of My Fair Lady:

    By rights they should be taken out and hung
    For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.

    This is talking about people - the song is called 'Why don't the English teach their children how to speak?'. Shame there's not a word tanged.

    (Of course, this lyric is a demonstration of the fact that not everyone observes this rule.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 31-Oct-2006 at 16:37. Reason: Added song title and last sentence

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    Default Re: hung or hanged

    People can be hung (although it's probably very rare), but if they are hanged, it is a form of execution.

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    Smile Re: hung or hanged

    This issue just came up in a writer's workshop I'm involved in. An author wrote something like her hair hung down her back. Another author commented that she should have used hanged instead of hung.

    A discussion followed, and yet another author stated that it was simply a matter of irregular verb patterns, which is not entirely the reason the second author's comment was wrong.

    Allow me to be verbose. The subject and object comes into play here as well as the conditions surrounding the verb. Is something just being done or is something doing something to something else? In other words, is the verb transitive or intransitive? Most transitive verbs are regular, (past tense made by adding ed) and most intransitive verbs are irregular. As we can see already there's more going on here than just irregular verb patterns.

    Take the verb pair lay/lie and their present, past, and past participal form.

    Transitive--lay,laid,laid
    Intransitive--lie,lay,lain

    The transitive form,lay, laid, laid, always takes an object. Like in the present tense: “I'll lay the cat on the bed.” or past: “Monday morning, I laid the cat on the bed.” or past participal: “By last Friday, I had laid the cat on the bed five times.” Subject verb object. Regular verb.

    The intransitive form, lie, lay, lain, takes no object and is a state of being. Present tense: “All the cats lie on my bed when they come to visit.” Past, "I lay the cat on the bed, and then left the room." Past participal. “I bet every cat in the neighbor has lain on my bed this week.” Subject irregular verb.

    There are several of these lovely pairs. Here’s three more: fell/fall, raise/rise, and the infamous hang/hang.

    The transitive forms hang/hanged/hanged are regular verbs and require an object. “Let me hang the picture.” or, “I hanged the picture yesterday.” or “I have hanged more pictures than I care to count.” So, hanged would not be correct in the above sentence that started this discussion.

    The problem with this picture is that only the legal community accept the word hanged today. Much like Thee and Thou, hanged is considered archaic and is not used in general, day to day, ordinary writing or speaking.

    So both the intrasitive and transitive forms of hang/hang are hang/hung/hung. Which makes them both transitive/regular and intransitive/irregular verbs.

    Unless the woman's hair had committed some felonious act and was sentenced to be hanged until dead, hung is the correct form.

    Whew. That was fun!

    Jen

  6. #6
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    Default Re: hung or hanged

    Quote Originally Posted by JennyAnne View Post
    This issue just came up in a writer's workshop I'm involved in. An author wrote something like her hair hung down her back. Another author commented that she should have used hanged instead of hung.

    A discussion followed, and yet another author stated that it was simply a matter of irregular verb patterns, which is not entirely the reason the second author's comment was wrong.

    Allow me to be verbose. The subject and object comes into play here as well as the conditions surrounding the verb. Is something just being done or is something doing something to something else? In other words, is the verb transitive or intransitive? Most transitive verbs are regular, (past tense made by adding ed) and most intransitive verbs are irregular. As we can see already there's more going on here than just irregular verb patterns.

    Take the verb pair lay/lie and their present, past, and past participal form.

    Transitive--lay,laid,laid
    Intransitive--lie,lay,lain

    The transitive form,lay, laid, laid, always takes an object. Like in the present tense: “I'll lay the cat on the bed.” or past: “Monday morning, I laid the cat on the bed.” or past participal: “By last Friday, I had laid the cat on the bed five times.” Subject verb object. Regular verb.

    The intransitive form, lie, lay, lain, takes no object and is a state of being. Present tense: “All the cats lie on my bed when they come to visit.” Past, "I lay the cat on the bed, and then left the room." Past participal. “I bet every cat in the neighbor has lain on my bed this week.” Subject irregular verb.

    There are several of these lovely pairs. Here’s three more: fell/fall, raise/rise, and the infamous hang/hang.

    The transitive forms hang/hanged/hanged are regular verbs and require an object. “Let me hang the picture.” or, “I hanged the picture yesterday.” or “I have hanged more pictures than I care to count.” So, hanged would not be correct in the above sentence that started this discussion.

    The problem with this picture is that only the legal community accept the word hanged today. Much like Thee and Thou, hanged is considered archaic and is not used in general, day to day, ordinary writing or speaking.

    So both the intrasitive and transitive forms of hang/hang are hang/hung/hung. Which makes them both transitive/regular and intransitive/irregular verbs.

    Unless the woman's hair had committed some felonious act and was sentenced to be hanged until dead, hung is the correct form.

    Whew. That was fun!

    Jen
    I'm not quite sure I understand how you arrived at this conclusion:

    Most transitive verbs are regular, (past tense made by adding ed) and most intransitive verbs are irregular.

    The majority of verbs, to the best of my knowledege, can be either transitive or intransitive. If that is true, transitivity/intransitivity are separate issues from regularity/irregularity for most verbs.

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    Default Re: hung or hanged

    In the good old days men were hung, drawn and quartered.

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    Default Re: hung or hanged

    Wild game (pheasants, rabbits etc) meat can be quite tough and dry. To counteract this tendency, it is 'hung' after shooting to break down the tough fibres and help tenderise the meat. Hanging also enables the development of 'gamey' flavours. The longer meat is hung, the more pronounced the flavour will become. Then there's 'well hung' - but we won't go into that

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    Default Re: hung or hanged

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I'm not quite sure I understand how you arrived at this conclusion:

    Most transitive verbs are regular, (past tense made by adding ed) and most intransitive verbs are irregular.

    The majority of verbs, to the best of my knowledege, can be either transitive or intransitive. If that is true, transitivity/intransitivity are separate issues from regularity/irregularity for most verbs.
    It wasn't a conclusion; it was a statement. You took those two sentences out of context. The fact that they(transitivity/intransitivity and regularity/irregularity) are separate issues was one of my points. The other point was that irregular verb patterns wasn't the the thing to consider when deciding between hang/hanged/hung. If form was the only thing at stake life would be much easier. However, type, tense, and meaning were the issues in the sentence from the story. Please read the last sentence of my paragraph below.

    The subject and object comes into play here as well as the conditions surrounding the verb. Is something just being done or is something doing something to something else? In other words, is the verb transitive or intransitive? Most transitive verbs are regular, (past tense made by adding ed) and most intransitive verbs are irregular. As we can see already there's more going on here than just irregular verb patterns.
    You're right, verbs are either transitive or intransitive and they are either regular or irregular. I didn't say that verbs are regular because they are transitive, or that they are irregular because they are intranstive. It just works out that way most of the time and can be misleading.

    English is hard and confusing, but I still like it better than math.

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