Your heart pounds in your chest as you prepare to deliver a speech at your school on famous personalities. You confidently utter the sentence, "Bhagat Singh was hung by the British." A through the audience. Wasn't it supposed to be 'hanged'?

A common issue faced by non-native English speakers is the misunderstanding between 'Hanged' and 'Hung'.

English, with its list of homonyms, homophones and complex grammar rules, can be tricky to navigate. This particular aspect of English - knowing when to use 'hanged' and when to use 'hung' - often stumps learners across India. Is there a difference? If yes, what is it?

By the end of this article, you'll learn not only the difference between 'hanged' and 'hung', but also understand their usage in context. Plus, we will provide practical tips and examples that will help you remember which word to use when!

Understanding Hanged and Hung:

While both 'hanged' and 'hung' come from the verb 'to hang', they have different implications. Let's break down these terms.

  • 'Hanged' refers to death by suspension, particularly in legal terminology or historical context. It is the past tense and past participle of 'hang' only when used in this specific context. For instance, "He was hanged for his crimes."

  • On the other hand, 'Hung' is the standard past tense and past participle of 'hang'. It applies to all contexts other than causing death by suspension. For example, "I hung my clothes out to dry."

Basically, 'hanged' emphasizes a punishing or lethal action while 'hung' refers to suspending something physically. 

The Correct Usage of Hanged vs Hung in Different Contexts

Both words are past tense forms of 'hang'. Traditionally, 'hanged' is used when referring to death by hanging. On the other hand, 'hung' is used in all other contexts.

Now let's review some examples:

1. Incorrect: The picture was hanged on the wall.

Correct: The picture was hung on the wall.

2. Incorrect: He hung himself in despair.

Correct: He hanged himself in despair.

3. Incorrect: Your coat is hanged on the rack.

Correct: Your coat is hung on the rack.

Why do we Confuse Hanged and Hung?

The terms 'hanged' and 'hung' cause much confusion, especially among non-native English speakers. Here are three main reasons why these words often get mixed up:

  1. Similar Spelling: The words 'hanged' and 'hung' look very similar, separated by just two differing letters. It's easy to mix up the two, particularly when writing or speaking quickly.

  2. Irregular Verb Form: English is famous for its irregular verbs, and 'hang' is no exception. Non-native speakers might expect the past tense of hang to be 'hanged', following the pattern of regular verbs such as bake-baked or work-worked.

  3. Variation in Usage: The correct usage of 'hanged' and 'hung' varies based on geographic location (like hanged vs hung in USA) and context, which can be confusing for learners. In certain contexts, both forms can be acceptable which further adds to the confusion.

Tips for Mastering the Correct Usage of Hanged and Hung

  1. Remember the rhyme: "Pictures are hung; people are hanged." This fun little mnemonic can help you remember when to use which term.

  2. Practice makes perfect: Use exercises and worksheets to get a firm grasp on their usage. Practice sentences like "The criminal was _______ last night." or "She ________ the photo on the wall."

  3. Stay consistent with your practice: Regularly revisiting these exercises will help reinforce your understanding.

How Clapingo Can Aid in Perfecting Your Spoken English

Embarking on your English learning journey with Clapingo can be a game-changer in overcoming common language barriers, including the 'hanged' vs 'hung' confusion.

Clapingo conducts personalised coaching sessions and simple video lessons which are specifically tailored for Indian learners like you. Through these sessions, you interact directly with native English speakers. This exposure allows you to grasp the language, helping you understand and use complex phrases and words correctly.

Also, with Clapingo, you can learn English through your mother tongue, like Telugu or Tamil!

Quick Recap

As we come to the end of our article, let's recap the primary difference between 'hanged' and 'hung'.

  • Remember, 'hanged' is specifically used in reference to death by suspension or execution, such as "The notorious criminal was hanged at dawn."

  • On the other hand, 'hung' applies to all other scenarios involving suspension, like "She hung her coat on the hook."

This understanding of Hanged vs Hung meaning can go a long way in helping you enhance your English proficiency. So continue your learning expedition and explore more intriguing aspects of the English language.

Remember that resources like Clapingo's diverse plans are always there for your support, providing one-on-one classes with native English speakers who can guide you through these intricacies in an accessible manner.


1. What is the difference between 'hanged' and 'hung'?

The difference between these two words lies in their usage. Generally, 'hung' is the past tense of 'hang' when referring to objects. For example, "She hung her degree on the wall." However, 'hanged' is used when referring to death by hanging in a legal or formal context. For instance, "The criminal was hanged for his crimes."

2. Is it correct to say "I hanged my clothes out to dry"?

No, it's not correct. When talking about everyday objects like clothes, use 'hung'. The correct sentence is "I hung my clothes out to dry." Remember, 'hanged' is mostly used when talking about execution/death by hanging.

3. Where can I practice using ‘hanged’ and ‘hung’ correctly?

You can find numerous online resources that provide exercises and hanged vs hung worksheets for practising these terms correctly. These worksheets often provide situations where you have to choose between ‘hanged’ and ‘hung.’

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