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I've met both usages:

I've also notices that some write barber's shop.

Are they different in UK and US and which one prevails over the other?

If I wish to say that I want my hair cut, do I say?

  • I want to cut my hair, I need to see a barber!
  • I want to cut my hair, I need to go to the barbershop (barber's shop, barber shop)!
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  • 2
    (At least in the UK) It would be common to leave off "shop" entirely and use "barber's" (in the same way as you might for butcher's etc.). E.g. "I'm going to the barber's for a haircut."
    – SteveES
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 10:57
  • @SteveES With an apostrophe? Why not to the barber? What about "dentist","doctor"? Do you also say to the dentist's, to the doctor's? Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 11:02
  • 3
    As far as Google Ngrams can be trusted, it looks like barbershop is definitely the preferred form in the US. In the UK, barber's shop used to be the preferred form but has been losing ground to barbershop. Note that the popularity of barbershop may be influenced by barbershop quartet, which I think is only ever written that way.
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 11:08
  • 1
    @SovereignSun I mean that the term "barber" is not really used, at least among people I know. I've not been to a "barber" to cut my hair since I was very small. I go to "a guy who cuts my hair". Other people might call him a "hair stylist".
    – Andrew
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 17:28
  • 2
    @Andrew - Maybe it's a regionalism, but here in NYC, "barber" is still alive and well.
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 15:34

1 Answer 1

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Between

barbershop
barber shop

there is no difference, especially when spoken

barber's shop

is an older way of referring to the first two and will make you sound elderly.

I want to cut my hair

sounds like you are going to cut your own hair, whereas most natives would say

I want to get my hair cut...

I'm getting my hair cut...
I'm going to get my hair cut...

and these days with so much branding

I'm going to Supercuts / Paul Mitchell / Vidal Sassoon.

instead of the barber's or barber shop.

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  • Why not have a haircut? Have my hair cut? Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 6:55

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