Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 20:26:21 -0400

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: Hanged vs. hung

I believe the old prescriptivist rule is this:

All uses (transitive and intransitive) except one have hang - hung - hung.

The exception is with reference to execution by a rope around the neck,

which is (transitive Õthey hanged himū or intransitive Õhe hanged by the

neckū) hang - hanged - hanged.

You can tell right away it is a prescriptivist rule; it makes you memorize

stuff that sounds funny (kinda like 'whom'). A dead giveaway.

(You might want to check some usage books or even consult the advice

standard dictionaries give. Ain't y'all got none of them up there in St.

John's? I think I remember right though.)

My rule is much simpler (if you want ot know what a 55+ white, northern

Kentuckian says): hang - hung - hung for everything

I do one exception; if a hanging went off without a hitch, I have a

disinclination to say that the victim was 'well-hung.'


As part of my coursework for an upper-division course titled "The


Language," I am currently attempting to discover how the word _hang_ is

currently being used in standard English.

During my research, however, I've encountered one problem: What is the


way to write the transitive and intransitive simple past tense forms of the

verb _hang_? Is it _hanged_ or _hung_? I appreciate any help that anyone can

give me with this.


Matt Russell

senior English major at St. John's University

Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

Fax: (517)432-2736