I need my hair cutting??

Brian   Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:24 pm GMT
I was talking to young woman from England (Leeds to be exact) and I said that she looked really pretty in a picture I saw of her. She said "Thanks. I need my hair cutting though."

Now, I'm American, and this sounded really strange to me. Here we would say "I need my hair cut" or "I need to get my hair cut". Is her usage correct and common?
Guest   Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:31 pm GMT
It sounds right to me.
Brian   Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:35 pm GMT
<<It sounds right to me.>>

Where are you from? I'm from the US and I would never in my life say this. It doesn't even seem to make sense to me.
Brian   Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:33 am GMT
Does anybody else have any input? I'm interested now.
SJF   Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:19 am GMT
I need a hair-cut.
Humble   Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:40 am GMT
Yes, it sounds unusual. But if we consider "cutting" as a Gerund, it's not altogether ungrammatical, is it?
Damian in Edinburgh   Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:54 am GMT
Before I became as careful about my appearance as I am now, my mum often said to me "You need your hair cutting". My stepdad would get up out of his armchair and say "The lawn needs trimming" - and then suggested that I did the trimming.

Think on about the Twelve Days of Christmas!

This apparently seems to be Britspeak going by the comments in here. . Live with it - it won't bite you on the bum.
Brian   Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:59 am GMT
"The lawn need trimming" sounds fine to me, although my father would say "The grass needs cut". Everybody who doesn't live here seems to consider this ungrammatical for some reason.

Anyway, it just struck me as odd because I had never heard it before. I was never complaining about it or anything. ;)
Lazar   Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:41 am GMT
I'm from Massachusetts and this construction sounds completely unnatural to me. But it seems to be common in vernacular British English, and they've covered it on Language Log: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/005029.html .
Rick Johnson   Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:47 pm GMT
This is said often round here (Manchester, England).

I remember referring to a conversation I had with someone once who said their "hair needs cutting badly". I was only referring to the two ways that this could be taken, but many American thought it sounded odd!
Guest   Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:05 pm GMT
Americans can't speak English properly, that is the reason why they think it sounds odd.
Guest   Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:15 pm GMT
US usage can be pretty strange too.
In Pittsburgh, they would say: The hair needs cut, The car needs washed...
Benny   Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:15 pm GMT
Sort of like when Texans say, "He needed killin'".

<<Americans can't speak English properly, that is the reason why they think it sounds odd.>>

Yep, that feller sure said it good. I bet he talks real purty too.
cppgeek   Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:30 pm GMT
I'm now listening to an audio course on the history of the English language and I remember how during one of the lectures the professor spoke about regionalisms in American English. Among the examples he gave was this:

* your hands need washed

or even

* your hands need warshed

This may seem ungrammatical to many English speakers, where most would use "... washing" or "... to be washed" instead. It's not a total botching of the norm though, but rather a regional habit, which many people unlearn once they move to a different area.

I'm sure the case with "hair cutting" is another example of regionalism that can be rarely seen in print (if only to demonstrate a peculiarity of somebody's speech).

Instances of this kind can be found in other languages. In my native Russian, I had never thought that the verb убираться could mean "to fit into" until I heard it used in this exact way from a bunch of people from Nizhny Novgorod.
Brian   Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:20 pm GMT
<<* your hands need washed>>

I'm from the Pittsburgh area and this is exactly how I would say it.

<<* your hands need warshed>>

And this is exactly how my grandparents would say it.