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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?

11

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
    Jun 21 '16 at 10:44
  • 1
    I was typing an addendum as you were typing. Jun 21 '16 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". Jun 21 '16 at 16:12
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    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. Jun 21 '16 at 16:28
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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)

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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_
    Jun 21 '16 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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