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In German you say "sich die Haare schneiden". You use the plural of hair in this case, on the other hand in English you say "to cut hair", you use the singular. How is it handled in Spanish?
"cortar el pelo", "cortar los pelos", or something really different? I really have a hard time with this. Any help is appreciated!

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Pelo in Spanish exists as both a countable noun and an uncountable noun as it is in English (I'm not familiar with German, unfortunately). That is, normally when used in the singular, it will be interpreted as a mass of hair, viewed collectively. In the plural, and occasionally in the singular given proper context, each strand of hair is viewed distinctively.

  • Tiene pelo azul. He has blue hair. (all of it is blue)
  • Tiene unos pelos azules. He has a few (strands of) blue hair.
  • Tiene solo un pelo. He has but one (strand of) hair.
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  • Sí, para referirnos a una masa de pelo lo usamos en singular, sin embargo se me ocurre una excepción: ¡Vaya pelos que llevas! es una expresión coloquial que alude al pelo (de la cabeza), al peinado. – Paloma Dec 17 '14 at 23:17
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In this case you should use just "pelo".

"Im going to get my hair cut."

"Me voy a cortar el pelo."

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My advice is that you should say:

Me voy a cortar el cabello.

Cabello: Cada uno de los pelos que nacen en la cabeza de una persona.

Because:

Pelo: Filamento cilíndrico, delgado,de naturaleza córnea, que nace y crece entre los poros de la piel de casi todos los mamíferos.

Here, cabello is the set of individual cylindrical filaments that grows from the skin.

If you consider say:

Me voy a / cortar el pelo.

It may be understood that you only cut a single filament.

PS: Guifa's comment is aceptable too, but I want make a emphasis between these concepts.

EDIT: In Colombia I often use too:

Peluquear: Cortar el pelo a alguien. Ir a la peluquería para recibir un corte de cabello. (own definition).

Ej: Me voy a peluquear.

The above sentence is a regional way of say too:

Me voy a cortar el cabello.

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  • In Spain at least the usual form is "me voy a cortar el pelo" instead of "cortar el cabello". So depending on the context "pelo" or "cabello" should be used. – JoulSauron Dec 2 '14 at 11:40

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