As a native English speaker, I have never used, nor have I heard anybody use the phrase "pay to."
Is this "She pays for the boy", like she pays for whatever the boy has spent or taken?
That would be "Αυτή πληρώνει για το αγόρι" (για = for).
"Αυτή πληρώνει το αγόρι" means that she gives money to the boy.
Maybe she is going to a store of boys and buying one, so she pays the boy, and after that goes home. LOL
And if this means "She pays to the boy" (even though that is not correct in English), shouldn't the Greek phrase be "Αυτή πληρώνει στο αγόρι"?
This last sentence could be right if there was the direct object (something). Αυτή πληρώνει (something) στο αγόρι. Στο=σε+το, so it is the indirect object, since it has σε=to plus the article το.
About the verb πληρώνω=to pay, there are many examples in Manolis Triantafyllidis'dictionary, with all possible cases of this verb here: http://www.greek-language.gr/greekLang/modern_greek/tools/lexica/triantafyllides/search.html?lq=%CF%80%CE%BB%CE%B7%CF%81%CF%8E%CE%BD%CF%89&dq=
Shouldn't "She pays to the boy" be also accepted?
And before commenting is not correct in English google search "pays to the". ( around 8 milion records).
I am not a native English speaker, but I think that when the meaning is to give money to someone, we don't use to. Just like tell. Pay the boy, like tell the boy.
A "pay to the" google search shows result such as "Britain pays to the EU budget" or "pay to the order of" appearing in cheques.
I beg to differ. First, we can't compare pay and tell.
Second of all, "pay to the" is very commonly used. Again searching on google "pay to the man" - for example - yields around 195 milion records vs "pay the man" - yielding only 1.5 million records. And there are plenty of quotes from English literature for the more common use of "pay to".
I'm not saying "pays the" is not correct. Just that "pays to the" should be accepted as well. That's it.
As I said, I'm not a native speaker. I think it would be useful to hear a native speaker's say on the matter.
The same debate seems to have arisen in the sentence "We pay the man" in the English course for Spanish speakers. There, feyMorgaina, who looks to be a native English speaker from North America, claims in 3 responses that "pay to somebody" is wrong.
Of course, it would be interesting if you could provide some of the quotes from English literature you mentioned. I have only found the expression "pay one's respects to somebody" in a dictionary, but it says that it is an idiomatic expression and it actually has nothing to do with money transfer.
PS: To the course contributors or anyone who might know: Is there a way to notify other users about a conversation?
Old discussion I realise, but teopap is right here; I'm a native English speaker and can confirm that 'pay somebody' is correct, and that you're correct to treat 'pay somebody' and 'tell somebody' as similar constructions. 'Pay to the boy' sounds odd.
I can only think of one example where it MIGHT be used, but it's pretty unique: say I asked a member of staff at a restaurant 'where do I pay my bill?', the member of staff might reply that you 'pay to the young man on the till over there'. It would only be used here to emphasise the direction or location of the paying, and to distinguish from the expression 'pay the young man', which sounds a little like you're paying ONLY the young man, and not the restaurant. Still though, one could definitely say 'pay the young man over there' and it wouldn't sound strange; nor would it be strange to say 'you pay at the till over there', or to use similar 'at' constructions.
'Pay to' might also be used if the 'to' forms part of a following infinitive verb construction, e.g.: 'I pay to go into the circus'; or 'I paid to do this'.
Hope this helps!
Don't know how old this thread is, but I'll comment that as a native speaker of English, and a linguist, the typical construction in English is "X pay Y", without 'to', where Y is a grammatical direct object but a semantic recipient, i.e. the person receiving the money. If you want to use 'to', it can only occur if there is an actual direct object indicating the money itself. Some examples: "I pay the man" (=I give money to the man in exchange for something) "I pay him" (=same) "I pay ten dollars to the man" (=I give the man ten dollars in exchange for something) "I pay the man ten dollars" (=same, and sounds less marked [more usual] to me than the previous phrase) "I pay him ten dollars" (=same) The Google hits for "pay to" are most likely picking up purposive uses, such as "you have to pay to enter", or set phrases such as "pay to the order of". The context is important here.