I have a question about the usage of "pay" and "pay for":

  1. He paid the expense.
  2. He paid for the expenses.

Could both be the same? This dictionary seems to say "pay" and "pay for" are the same.


2 Answers 2


They are both basically the same sentence but there is a minor nuance between them.

  1. He paid the expense This focuses on the fact that the expense, like a bill, has been paid.

  2. He paid for the expense This could mean that he paid it, or that he paid it on behalf of another. The focus here is on the subject he doing the paying in order to clear the expense.

Like I said, this is merely a nuance- and frankly depending on the inflection of voice, either sentence could shift the meaning back to the subject or the verb. But minus any voicing, I would expect the emphasis to be as above.


The verb pay is both, transitive and intransitive. OALD gives examples of both.

pay (for something) -to give somebody money for work, goods, services, etc AS IN "I'll pay for the tickets."
pay something - to pay cash

Thus to answer, it's okay using either of them.

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