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As mentioned in the title, I want to ask about the difference between "ぶら下がる" and "つり下がる" in terms of usage. Both of them are translated as "hang".

For example

服が 鉄棒に つり下がる/ぶら下がる

手が つり革に つり下がる/ぶら下がる

Are the two words interchangeable?

2 Answers 2

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The only difference worth mentioning, as far as I am concerned, is in the word formation of the two words.

「ぶら下{さ}がる」 is formed by combining an onomatopoeia and a verb -- 「ぶら/ぶらり(と)」 and 「下がる」.

「つり下がる」 is formed by combining two verbs -- 「吊{つ}る」 and 「下がる」.

For using an onomatopoeia, 「ぶら下がる」 sounds just a tiny bit more informal and slightly more intuitive than 「つり下がる」 for the native speakers. The difference is minimal in actual usage. For this reason, I would say that the majority of native-speaking children would get to learn to say 「ぶら下がる」 before 「つり下がる」.

If you used the two interchangeably, I doubt if anyone would even notice anything.

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つり下がる and ぶら下がる are not always interchangeable.

  • 服が 鉄棒に つり下がっている
  • 服が 鉄棒に ぶら下がっている

are both correct but つり下がっている sounds like the clothing is attached firmly to the pull-up bar and ぶら下がっている sounds like the clothing is hanging loose with the lower part fluttering in the breeze and not touching the ground.

  • 手が つり革に つり下がる/ぶら下がる

is possible but very weird. Sounds to me that a forearm torn apart from its body is hanging.

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  • How about omitting the "手"?  電車に乗る時、つり革にぶら下がってください。
    – chika
    Mar 9, 2018 at 4:52
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    @chika 「つり革にぶら下がる」is grammatically fine, but... 電車に乗るときは、つり革につかまってください。つり革にぶら下がったら、たぶん怒られます。(
    – chocolate
    Mar 9, 2018 at 5:43
  • @chika, "電車に乗る時、つり革にぶら下がってください。" is grammatically correct, but is logically incorrect. Because nobody wants you to work out hanging from the rings on the train as if a gymnast performed on the rings. You probably hear a train announcement like "お立ちのお客様は、お近くのつり革、手すりにおつかまりください。"
    – user28024
    Mar 9, 2018 at 6:27

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