6

Is it necessary to use the preposition 'to' in the following sentence or we can omit it?

We can pay to Boris tomorrow.

By omitting it'll be:

We can pay Boris tomorrow.

  • 2
    I have never heard it used and it sounds bizarre. You give money to someone, but you simply pay them. – Jason Bassford Dec 21 '18 at 13:59
15

You can safely omit the preposition. In fact, you should.

You would include the preposition only if you had another direct object after pay, such as money, the debt, the sum owing or similar.

So it's either:

We can pay Boris tomorrow

or

We can pay the money to Boris tomorrow.

Alternatively, you could reverse the direct and indirect objects to read:

We can pay Boris the money tomorrow.

  • In your last two examples, I'd probably change pay to give more often than not: We can give Boris the money tomorrow. – J.R. Dec 21 '18 at 14:57
  • The fun comes in for something like fee: We can pay Boris the fee tomorrow is fine, but We can pay the fee to Boris tomorrow would be (slightly) odd to my AmE/BrE hybrid ear. :-) – T.J. Crowder Dec 21 '18 at 18:06
  • @Crowder and it seems the opposite to my Southern AmE-only ears. "You can pay Boris the fee" sounds fine, but "You can pay Boris the fee tomorrow" feels like there are too many words. "You can pay the fee to Borris tomorrow" has the "to" to break it up, and sounds better to my ear. – trlkly Dec 22 '18 at 13:30
  • @trlkly Your ear plays your false! – Ronald Sole Dec 22 '18 at 18:48
7

We can pay to Boris tomorrow.

When I began reading this, my brain assumed you were trying to say "we can pay (money) (in order) to (do something)", as in the phrase "pay to play":

Also called 'Pay to Play' A phrase used for a variety of situations in which money is exchanged for services or the privilege to engage [play] in certain activities

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/submission/14425/Pay-for-Play

It honestly took me a few seconds of wondering what kind of activity "Boris-ing" is before I understood what you meant.

So while you can pay £100 to drive a racing car, you should say "we can pay Boris tomorrow".

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