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If you meant that "ela paga o menino" means that she pays someone and receives the boy, then no, it doesn't really mean that. In Portuguese, "ela paga o menino" doesn't really make much sense. There are two possibilities: a) "ela paga ao menino" — she pays the boy; or b) "ela paga pelo menino" — she pays for the boy.
In this situation, the preposition "a" will indicate to whom one is paying (pay attention to the contractions "ao, "à", "aos", "às"); and the preposition "por" will indicate the thing for what one is paying someone (contractions: "pelo", "pela", "pelos", "pelas").
You can also use them both together:
"Ela paga ao menino pelo cachorro" — She pays the boy for the dog.
Google translated it, logically, to Ela paga com o menino. But I think I get what you're saying and I would like an answer too. Why exactly does "ela paga o menino" not make sense? What would it sound like is being said, if not "she pays [using/with] the boy"?
No. Enen though you may hear "to pay someone" the only standard form is:
- PAGAR something + A (prep.) someone
PAGAR A (prep.) someone + something
Paguei a conta de luz à (prep. + article) companhia de energia elétrica.
- Paguei ao (prep. + article) dentista a mensalidade.
That's the point. Unfortunately, we have two types of Portuguese: spoken and written. Spoken Portuguese is much more simple and tends not to follow grammar rules. Also, if you follow all grammar rules, you may sound pedantic. It's a hard predicament.
People don't care much if you do not follow the rules when speaking, but you should avoid mistakes when writing. That's why natives must always check out whether a structure, preposition, conjugation, etc. is right or only used orally. It makes things more difficult.
Anyway, I think nobody follows all grammar rules, no matter the language they speak.
But don't give up. I think you do not to master a language - you need to communicate your ideas!
(For example: I make many English mistakes. Anyway, I think you got the point. So that's what matters! =])
I was corrected as "she pays TO the boy", and in the discussion it says "she pays the boy". Error maybe Duo?
It seems to be a bug feature of DL, that when we put something in as an answer that DL does not have in the database list of possible correct or incorrect solutions (such as Casa de Banho) then DL returns back something odd, even gibberish as the supposed correct one (Quarto de Banho in the previous example).
I consistently see these as I push the limits to try and learn the Euro version.