How Do You Say “Pay” In Spanish?

Spanish is a beautiful language that is spoken by millions of people around the world. Whether you are planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country, want to communicate with Spanish-speaking coworkers, or just want to learn a new language, Spanish is a great choice. One of the most important words to know in any language is “pay,” as it is essential for purchasing goods and services. In this article, we will explore how to say “pay” in Spanish.

The Spanish word for “pay” is “pagar.” This word is used in many different contexts, such as paying for groceries, paying a bill, or paying for a service. Knowing the word “pagar” is crucial for anyone who wants to communicate effectively in Spanish.

How Do You Pronounce The Spanish Word For “Pay”?

Learning to properly pronounce words in a foreign language is essential for clear communication. In Spanish, the word for “pay” is “pago”. To pronounce it correctly, follow these tips:

Phonetic Breakdown

The phonetic spelling for “pago” is “pah-goh”.

Pronunciation Tips

  • Start with the “p” sound, which is pronounced by pressing the lips together and then releasing them with a burst of air.
  • Move on to the “ah” sound, which is pronounced by opening the mouth wide and saying a short “a” sound.
  • End with the “goh” sound, which is pronounced by making a “g” sound in the back of the throat and then adding an “oh” sound.
  • Practice saying the word slowly at first, then gradually increase your speed.
  • Listen to native Spanish speakers pronounce the word and try to mimic their pronunciation.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to confidently say “pago” in Spanish.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The Spanish Word For “Pay”

Proper grammar is crucial when using the Spanish word for “pay” to ensure clear communication. Understanding the correct placement of the word in a sentence, verb conjugations or tenses, agreement with gender and number, and common exceptions are necessary for proper usage.

Placement Of Pay In Sentences

The Spanish word for “pay” is “pagar”. In a sentence, “pagar” typically follows the subject and precedes the object. For example, “Yo pago la cuenta” translates to “I pay the bill”.

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

In Spanish, verbs change depending on the subject and tense. To conjugate “pagar” in the present tense:

Subject Pronoun Conjugation
Yo pago
Él/Ella/Usted paga
Nosotros/Nosotras pagamos
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes pagan

For example, “Ellos pagan la renta cada mes” translates to “They pay rent every month”.

Agreement With Gender And Number

In Spanish, adjectives and articles must agree with the gender and number of the noun they modify. The same applies to the word “pagar”. For example, “la factura” (the bill) is feminine, so you would use “paga” instead of “pago” to match the feminine subject. Likewise, “los empleados” (the employees) is plural, so you would use “pagan” instead of “paga” to match the plural subject.

Common Exceptions

One common exception is the phrase “a pagar”, which means “to pay”. This phrase uses the infinitive form of “pagar” and does not change to match the subject or tense. For example, “Voy a pagar la cuenta” translates to “I am going to pay the bill”.

Examples Of Phrases Using The Spanish Word For “Pay”

When learning a new language, it’s essential to learn how to use common words and phrases. In this article, we’ll explore some examples of phrases using the Spanish word for “pay.”

Provide Examples And Explain How They Are Used In Sentences

Here are some examples of phrases using the Spanish word for “pay” and how they are used in sentences:

  • “Pagar en efectivo” – Pay in cash
  • “Pagar con tarjeta de crédito” – Pay with a credit card
  • “Pagar la cuenta” – Pay the bill
  • “Pagar impuestos” – Pay taxes
  • “Pagar por adelantado” – Pay in advance

These phrases are commonly used in everyday conversation and are essential to know when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country or communicating with Spanish speakers.

Provide Some Example Spanish Dialogue (With Translations) Using Pay

Here are some example Spanish dialogues using pay:

Spanish Dialogue English Translation
“Buenos días, ¿cómo desea pagar?” “Good morning, how would you like to pay?”
“Quiero pagar en efectivo, por favor.” “I want to pay in cash, please.”
“¿Aceptan tarjeta de crédito?” “Do you accept credit cards?”
“Sí, aceptamos todas las tarjetas de crédito.” “Yes, we accept all credit cards.”
“¿Cuánto es la cuenta?” “How much is the bill?”
“La cuenta es de $50.” “The bill is $50.”

These dialogues showcase how to use the Spanish word for “pay” in everyday situations. By learning these phrases, you can communicate effectively with Spanish speakers and navigate various payment scenarios with ease.

More Contextual Uses Of The Spanish Word For “Pay”

Understanding the various contexts in which the Spanish word for “pay” is used can help you communicate more effectively in Spanish-speaking countries. Here are some of the different uses of the word:

Formal Usage Of Pay

In formal situations, such as business meetings or legal proceedings, it’s important to use the correct terminology. The Spanish word for “pay” in these contexts is pago. For example, if you were discussing a payment plan for a loan, you might say:

  • El pago se realizará mensualmente.
  • (The payment will be made monthly.)

Informal Usage Of Pay

In more casual situations, such as among friends or family, the word pago can sound too formal. Instead, people often use the word paga. For example, if you were asking a friend to pay you back for a meal you shared, you might say:

  • ¿Me pagas lo que me debes?
  • (Will you pay me what you owe me?)

Other Contexts

Spanish, like many languages, has many idiomatic expressions and slang terms that use the word for “pay.” For example, the phrase pagar el pato (literally “to pay the duck”) means to take the blame for something you didn’t do. And in some Latin American countries, the word chamba is used to mean “work” or “job,” and is sometimes used in the phrase pagar la chamba (to pay the job) to mean “to earn a living.”

Finally, it’s worth noting that the word for “pay” is often used in popular culture in various ways. For example, the 2013 hit single “Payphone” by Maroon 5 was translated into Spanish as “Cabina telefónica de pago.”

Regional Variations Of The Spanish Word For “Pay”

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Spanish language is the variety of regional differences that exist in its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. The word for “pay” is no exception, and it can vary significantly from one Spanish-speaking country to another.

Usage Of The Spanish Word For “Pay” In Different Spanish-speaking Countries

In Spain, the most common word for “pay” is “pagar.” However, in Latin America, there are several variations that are used depending on the country and region. In Mexico, for example, the word “pagar” is also commonly used, but “abonar” and “liquidar” can also be heard. In Argentina, “pagar” is also used, but “cancelar” is a more common alternative.

Other countries have their own unique words for “pay.” In Chile, the word “cancelar” is used exclusively, while in Peru, “cancelar” and “abonar” are both used interchangeably. In the Dominican Republic, “pagar” is used, but “liquidar” and “saldar” are also commonly heard.

Regional Pronunciations

Not only do regional variations exist in the use of the word for “pay,” but there are also differences in pronunciation. For example, in Spain, the “g” in “pagar” is often pronounced as a soft “h,” while in Latin America, it is pronounced as a hard “g.” In Argentina, the “ll” in “cancelar” is pronounced as a “sh” sound, while in Mexico, it is pronounced as a “y” sound.

Below is a table summarizing some of the regional differences in the Spanish word for “pay”:

Country/Region Most Common Word for “Pay” Alternative Words for “Pay”
Spain pagar
Mexico pagar abonar, liquidar
Argentina pagar, cancelar N/A
Chile cancelar N/A
Peru cancelar, abonar N/A
Dominican Republic pagar liquidar, saldar

Other Uses Of The Spanish Word For “Pay” In Speaking & Writing

While “pagar” is commonly used to refer to paying for goods or services in Spanish, it can also have other meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In order to understand these alternative meanings, it is important to be able to distinguish between them.

Uses Of “Pagar” Beyond Paying For Goods And Services

Here are some common examples of how “pagar” can be used in different contexts:

  • To settle a debt: When you owe someone money, you can use “pagar” to indicate that you are paying them back. For example: “Todavía tengo que pagarle a mi amigo por la cena de la semana pasada” (I still have to pay my friend back for last week’s dinner).
  • To pay attention: In Spanish, you can use “pagar atención” to mean “to pay attention”. This is a common phrase used in both formal and informal settings. For example: “Por favor, paga atención a las instrucciones” (Please pay attention to the instructions).
  • To pay the price: “Pagar el precio” is another common phrase in Spanish, which is used to mean “to pay the price”. This can be used in a literal sense (e.g. “Tuve que pagar el precio por no estudiar para el examen” – I had to pay the price for not studying for the exam), or in a more metaphorical sense (e.g. “Si quieres tener éxito, tienes que pagar el precio” – If you want to be successful, you have to pay the price).

Distinguishing Between Different Uses Of “Pagar”

In order to understand which meaning of “pagar” is being used in a particular context, it is important to pay attention to the other words and phrases that are used alongside it. For example:

  • If “pagar” is followed by a specific amount of money, it is likely that the meaning is related to paying for goods or services.
  • If “pagar” is followed by a debt or an obligation, it is likely that the meaning is related to settling a debt.
  • If “pagar” is followed by the word “atención”, it is likely that the meaning is related to paying attention.
  • If “pagar” is followed by the word “precio”, it is likely that the meaning is related to paying the price.

By paying attention to these contextual clues, it is possible to understand the different ways in which “pagar” can be used in Spanish.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The Spanish Word For “Pay”

Synonyms And Related Terms

While “pay” may be the most common translation for the Spanish word “pagar,” there are several other words and phrases that convey a similar meaning:

  • Abonar – This verb is often used to refer to paying a bill or debt.
  • Saldar – Similar to “abonar,” this verb is often used to refer to settling a debt or paying off a balance.
  • Remunerar – This verb is often used in the context of paying for services rendered or work done.
  • Desembolsar – This verb specifically refers to paying a sum of money, often in a lump sum.

Each of these words and phrases can be used interchangeably with “pagar” in many contexts, but they may also have specific connotations or nuances depending on the situation.


On the other hand, there are also several words and phrases that are antonyms of “pagar” and convey the opposite meaning:

  • Cobrar – This verb means “to charge” or “to collect” and is often used in the context of receiving payment rather than making it.
  • Adeudar – This verb means “to owe” and is often used in the context of being in debt or having an outstanding balance.
  • Dejar de pagar – This phrase means “to stop paying” and implies a failure or refusal to make a payment that is due.

While these words and phrases are not synonymous with “pagar,” they can be useful to know when discussing financial transactions and obligations.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The Spanish Word For “Pay”

When learning a new language, it’s common to make mistakes. The Spanish language, in particular, can be tricky when it comes to certain words and phrases. One word that many non-native speakers struggle with is “pay.” Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the Spanish word for “pay.”

Using “Pagar” Instead Of “Pagar Por”

One common mistake is using “pagar” instead of “pagar por.” While “pagar” can be used to mean “pay,” it is often used in the context of paying for a service or product. To avoid confusion, it’s best to use “pagar por” when talking about paying for something specific. For example:

  • Incorrect: Voy a pagar el restaurante. (I’m going to pay the restaurant.)
  • Correct: Voy a pagar por la comida. (I’m going to pay for the food.)

Using “Paga” Instead Of “Pago”

Another common mistake is using “paga” instead of “pago.” While “paga” is the third-person singular form of “pagar,” it is not the correct form to use when talking about one’s own payment. Instead, use “pago” to talk about your own payment. For example:

  • Incorrect: Ella paga la factura. (She pays the bill.)
  • Correct: Yo hago el pago. (I make the payment.)

Using “Pagar” Instead Of “Cobrar”

Finally, some non-native speakers make the mistake of using “pagar” when they should be using “cobrar.” While “pagar” means “to pay,” “cobrar” means “to charge” or “to collect payment.” For example:

  • Incorrect: Voy a pagar por el servicio. (I’m going to pay for the service.)
  • Correct: Voy a cobrar por el servicio. (I’m going to charge for the service.)

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can improve your use of the Spanish word for “pay” and communicate more effectively in Spanish.


In conclusion, we have discussed several ways to say “pay” in Spanish, including “pagar,” “abonar,” and “cancelar.” It is important to note that each of these words has its own specific usage and context, so it is essential to understand their nuances to use them correctly.

Furthermore, we have explored some of the related vocabulary and phrases that can be useful when discussing payments and transactions in Spanish. These include terms like “factura” (invoice), “cambio” (change), and “tarjeta de crédito” (credit card).

Finally, we encourage you to practice using these words and phrases in real-life conversations. Whether you are traveling to a Spanish-speaking country or simply interacting with Spanish speakers in your community, having a solid understanding of payment-related vocabulary can be incredibly helpful.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.