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Author Topic: Grammar Hang Up
Dan_raven
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Calling all Grammar-nazi's.

I need to know if I'm wrong.

In the past few weeks Iraq has executed several bad guys.

On the radio I have heard several times, "Saddam Hussein was hanged at..."

hanged?

Shouldn't that have been "hung"?
Is "hanged" a word?
Isn't it: I will hang up my stockings; I hung up my stockings; the stockings were hung with care.

Where did this "hanged" come from?

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The Pixiest
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Stockings are hung, people are hanged.
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Ogsfield Bistlexat
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While looking this up I saw that the actual past tense of dive is dived, not dove. It sounds wrong, but there you are..

[EDIT] With hanging it doesn't matter if it was suicide or murder or whatever. As long as they end up dead, it's "hanged". [/EDIT]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_raven:
Calling all Grammar-nazi's.

Davidson's Law strikes again.

And Pixiest is correct (although I was taught, "Pictures are hung; people are hanged").

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dean
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A lot of irregulars are leaving the language, unfortunately. I don't remember the exact numbers (and I'm too tired to look them up) but Stephen Pinker in one of his books (Words and Rules, I think) talked about how in Chaucerian English there were about three times as many irregular verbs as there are now. However, because people don't hear the irregular forms often enough for them to be able to bring them up at will, they will add -ed to a verb that they know because they simply don't know the correct irregular past-tense. And so past-tenses fall out of use, and become so commonly regularized that the regular form becomes standard.

For example, we don't really use the verb "to geld" often. But in the olden days, the past tense was "gelt." Now if we need the past tense for some reason, we would say "gelded." And dictionaries would also say gelded.

It is my understanding that this is in the process of happening with the verb "to dive," and that the irregular form "dove" has been around a lot longer than the regular form "dived."

And has more-or-less already happened with the past tense of "to sneak" and "to drag."

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Liz B
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Actually I'm pretty sure it's vice versa with sneak...that it's a new irregular. I remember Pinker writing something like "The irregular of sneak snuck into the language sometime in the 1700s" (I made the date up 'cause I can't find my Pinker books.)
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Olivet
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I feel really bad when I get the newsletter from the room mothers of my oldest son's class.

It always has the heading, "Notes from the Room Mom's" and I always want to scream, "From the room mom's WHAT?"

Being room mom is a sucky job, which I avoid like the plague due to my complete lack of leadership ability. I admire them for the work they put into a volunteer position, and all that, but it still drives me crazy. I am aware that it is petty and small of me.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by dean:
And has more-or-less already happened with the past tense of "to sneak" and "to drag."

Actually, "snuck" and "drug" are new irregular forms, not old irregular forms which are being displaced.
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Sibyl
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quote:
Originally posted by dean:

For example, we don't really use the verb "to geld" often.

Unless we happen to be farmers or horse people. But it especially applies to horses specifically, these days. A horse becomes a gelding, while a bull becomes a steer. There are a lot of other species-specific variants.

Sibyl
(Gotta get a sig into my profile soon: I forget it too often, because I have one for my e-mail, and other places)

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Jonathan Howard
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quote:
the irregular form "dove" has been around a lot longer than the regular form "dived."
I believe it's a wrong backward-analogy that is not much used in the Commonwealth.
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Jon Boy
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Hmm. I double-checked, and it looks like "dove" is the newer form, too.
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Noemon
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Jonathan Howard! Good to see you!
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dean
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Perhaps I remembered it all backwards. For awhile I wanted to see if I could irregularize all the verbs I ever used. =D
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Bella Bee
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Id always just assumed that 'dove' is the correct American form of the past tense for dive.

In Britain (and I assume Australia, NZ, etc) it's always 'dived'. So either 'dove' is the older form - like using 'fall' for autumn, which can be found in works like Chaucer but is not used in UK English anymore - or it's a new form which appeared in the US at some later point. I'd really like to know - Jon Boy, where did you find your info?

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Jon Boy
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Here and here. I would've checked the OED online too, but it wasn't working for me earlier.
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Lisa
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Do you say "the theorem has been proved" or "the theorem has been proven"? I've always thought it was the latter, but I've had people tell me that the former is more correct.
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Jon Boy
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According to Merriam-Webster, they occur with roughly equal frequency now, so it really shouldn't matter.
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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Stockings are hung, people are hanged.

Oh, never mind. It's just too darn easy.
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Lisa
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You're darning the stockings?
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Tante Shvester
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Uh, yeah, Lisa. That's it.
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Tara
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For hung/hanged, I'm pretty sure it's officially either.
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rivka
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As Tante pointed out with such subtlety, the two verbs mean different things when applied to people.



Sibyl, Hatrack doesn't support sigs. Some people choose to type them in on each post though.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
As Tante pointed out with such subtlety, the two verbs mean different things when applied to people.

Not necessarily. Check out the usage notes here and here.
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Hatrack doesn't support sigs. Some people choose to type them in on each post though.

I like this [lack of] feature quite a bit. It's also something I appreciate at the TWoP forums when I read there.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
As Tante pointed out with such subtlety, the two verbs mean different things when applied to people.

Not necessarily. Check out the usage notes here and here.
*sigh*

My Funny is clearly really off today.

*mope*

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Olivet
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I got it, rivka. At least, I think I did. As in, "An efficeintly hanged man may or may not be considered to have been well hung."
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Hookt_Un_Fonix
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I have never been hanged, but I have been hung since my adult life began.
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rivka
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Thanks, Olivet. [Kiss]

I actually think it's not a question of getting what I'm saying, but of getting that I'm not being entirely serious. We need a :dry sarcasm: graemlin. [Wink]

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Olivet
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That's a great idea. I wonder what it would need to look like...
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Sibyl
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quote:

Sibyl, Hatrack doesn't support sigs. Some people choose to type them in on each post though. [/QB]

Thank you, Rivka! Saved me some trouble messing with my profile, which I hadn't gotten around to doing yet: had learned how to do it on Philotic Web, but I'm still trying to figure out how to do an avatar there.

I do appreciate a true "signature" at the bottom, if only the name, though a lot of people seriously overdo it, and my normal e-mail sig is just a closing, "Love in Christ" ("Love" alone can be misunderstood! or simply sound silly ;^)) with a "mailto:" below my full name, but that really isn't necessary on these two boards, because the name is over at the side of the post always, and any other member can e-mail you or Private Message you through the site software. With e-mail, different mailer programs, that ain't necessarily so, depending on how the client displays (or not!) the sender. I'm just not well-adapted to web boards yet, and have been using e-mail Lists for ten years and more. I'm all ossified up.

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