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There are 2 types of balloons. One can not fly and the other can.

For the one that can not fly, I think we can say "hang the balloon on the door handle by its string"

However, "hang" is often used for things that are pulled down by gravity such as a bunch of keys, a jacket etc.

But, I am not sure if "hang" can be used for things that fly up like a flyable balloon because the balloon is not pulled down by gravity.

Is it correct to say "hang the balloon on the door handle by its string" when that balloon can fly up?

  • It's not "correct" or "incorrect". But I don't think it's something that a native speaker would say: if I heard it, I think I'd assume that the balloon was deflated. – Colin Fine Feb 10 at 16:29
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    Hang is wrong because it always implies something being pulled downwards. – stangdon Feb 10 at 16:32
  • @ColinFine, I didn't mean "deflated ones". I meant the non-flyable balloons can not fly into the air by itself and the flyable balloons can – Tom Feb 10 at 17:12
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    "fly" is the wrong word here. Balloons with helium "float" – James K Feb 10 at 20:29

Balloons that cannot rise are still balloons, so you'd use a verb like tie. Deflated balloons are the exception, not the norm. That's why you'd use a verb that applies to both states of a balloon.

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    I think when the OP says "balloons that cannot fly" he means ones that are filled with air instead of helium. But I agree that "tie" is still a much better choice. – stangdon Feb 10 at 16:31
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    I think Tom is making a distinction between balloons inflated with air and those with helium. You could tether the lighter-than-air variety. – Kate Bunting Feb 10 at 16:32
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    I agree with @KateBunting on tether, which implies that you're preventing it from "escaping". – Canadian Yankee Feb 10 at 18:14

I'd understand "Hang" but :

Tie the balloon to the door handle.

Would be short, simple and clear. You don't need "by its string" (what else would you tie with). You probably don't need "handle" either (because that is the only sticking out part of the door)

Hang does normally mean downwards. So don't use it to mean float upwards.

  • Hmm, a deflated or partially deflated balloon can by tied around a door handle directly. I'd probably say "tie the balloon's string to the door handle" if I was worried about ambiguity. – Jeremy Friesner Feb 11 at 3:26
  • Sure, but why would you ever be worried about the ambiguity, really? In fact why would you tie a deflated balloon to a door handle? Deflated balloons go in the bin. – James K Feb 11 at 12:52

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