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  1. I have my hair cut.
  2. I get my hair cut.

What is the difference between the two sentences in meaning?

4 Answers 4

12

Both sentences mean that the speaker does not cut his own hair, but has another person do it.

The pattern

{someone} gets|has + {something} + {past participle of a transitive verb} {optional phrase identifying the entity who does the deed}

I get|have my car fixed at that garage.

He gets|has the newspaper delivered.

The unwary king neglects to get|have his food tasted.

The politician got|had his TV commercial aired at prime time in ten major media markets.

Get is felt to be informal.

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  • But what is the difference between "get" and "have", if any?
    – user27060
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 10:44
  • 1
    I was typing an addendum as you were typing.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 10:47
  • Non-native opinion: the use of "have" in that phrase sounds more like atemporal, while "get" can be more suited for actions, like "I'm going to get a haircut" or "I got my hair cut last week". Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 16:12
  • 2
    I had my hair cut last week. I got my hair cut last week. She's having her ears pierced tomorrow. She's getting her ears pierced tomorrow.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 16:28
3

Although have and get are often used interchangeably in the causative, get is somewhat stronger than have (it contains a stronger idea of action by the subject). For example:

I must get my car serviced soon.

Finally, I got my roof repaired

. In these examples, there is also a suggestion of some difficulty, which would not be conveyed by had.

Besides, get sounds more natural than have in the imperative:

Get your hair cut.
Get your eyes tested.

And lastly, in suggestions like "why don't you", get is much stronger than have:

Why don t you have your hair cut? (Neutral suggestion)

Why don t you get your hair cut? (Almost an order)

2

I would add to @TRomano's answer that Get feels more American, while most British would choose to say Have. The above was definitely true some years (well, decades) ago but has changed a lot since then (and still changing)...

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  • @user3169 There is no present perfect in your examples.
    – tum_
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 18:27
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Since the actions in a "haircut" are not a moment in time, I would use present perfect:

I am having my hair cut.

or

I am getting my hair cut.

In AmE I prefer using "get". "have" reads more like a special occasion/occurrence , not something done routinely or because it is basically required for some reason.

I am having my birthday party on Saturday.
I am getting my car repaired on Monday.

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