Thanks for your explanation Dan, but I am still very confused between the two examples. I understand here that "pagar ao homem" means "pay to the man", which I understand well - For example, paying money to the taxi driver.
However, in the other example "pagar o homem" ("pay the man"), how does this translate and differentiate itself from the first example? Unless of course, the 'man' is the currency and we are speaking of slave trading for instance. Thanks again.
Well you can pay to the man who will then pay the man... Our vice versa... I'll try to explain: when you "pay the man", you give money to the person who provided something for that something. You can give money directly or transfer via a bank or through a third party - whatever way. Say a man mawned your loan - you "pay the man" for that. When you pay "to the man", it can be either the end recipient of the money, or a middle man who collects it on behalf of someone else. A cashier at a store is not the one collecting profit from selling you a TV set - you pay money "to the cashier", and then it goes to the store. And in turn the store pays "the cashier" for the job of working there. Hope this helps :)
All texts I've read agree :)
"Pagar algo a alguém" is the only thing they accept as good grammar.
But I find it interesting, since I grew up hearing things like "pagar por algo", adding the preposition to the thing you pay for. One very very popular expression is "você vai pagar por isso" (you will pay for that / a declared revenge).
Based on other verbs with similar behavior, I wouldn't get surprised if someone said "pagar alguém por algo". But then, I couldn't find it in texts....
Both "pagamos o homem" and "pagamos ao homem" have the same meaning here and should be accepted.
"O" = "the" (masculine) "Ao" = "to the" (masculine)
"A" = "the" (feminine) "À" = "to the" (feminine)
The accent on the "À" is called a "crase", and it is just there so we didn't end up writing "aa", as we did with "ao" for the masculine, I guess "aa" would be awkward.
A lot of the times these are not interchangeable but lots of other times it makes no difference at all. In the case of "pagamos o homem" it doesn't matter, but to illustrate where they would not have the the same meaning:
"Retornamos à praia" = "We returned to the beach"
"Retornamos a praia" = wrong, literally means "We returned the beach back"
"Beach" being feminine in portuguese.
Tho of course the pronunciation of "a" and "à" is exactly the same so you don't have to worry about that when speaking. But in the masculine you do have to pay attention:
"Chocolate ao leite" = "Chocolate mixed with milk"
"Chocolate o leite" = wrong, literally means "Chocolate the milk"
"Pagamos o dinheiro" = "We paid the money"
"Pagamos ao dinheiro" = wrong, "We paid to the money"
Tho "ao dinheiro" is sometimes used to differentiate from other forms of payment, so if you hear:
"Senhor, vai pagar ao dinheiro?" it means "Sir, are you paying cash?" (Instead of debit/credit card or whatever)
"Senhor, vai pagar o dinheiro?" means "Sir, are you paying the money (or not)?"
Just some food for thought:
I said "Retornamos à praia" means "We returned to the beach" because without context it is assumed to be in the past, but it could well be used for present or future, as in:
"Então é isso... retornamos à praia!" = "That's it then... we are back at the beach!"
"Então é isso! Retornamos à praia..." = "That's it then! We will return to the beach..."
Hard to make it clear without you hearing my intonation, but the context of the conversation will make the intended meaning clear.
"Retornamos a praia ao estado original" (no accent on the "a") = "We returned the beach back to the original state"
"Retornamos à praia seu estado original" (with accent) = "We returned to the beach it's original state"
As in maybe cleaning it or whatever.
Hope it helps your learning.
Almost. The English sentence could certainly be framed in the past tense, however the conjugation would be «paid» since the sentence suggests a financial meaning. :-)