paid vs. payed

Discussion in 'English Only' started by danissaet, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. danissaet Member

    Lima, Peru
    Spanish -Peru
    Hi everyone:
    I have a doubt about when to use PAID and when PAYED. I have always been used to PAID but a student asked me about this other form, is it a Brittish form or what? Please, help me.
  2. M1991 Member

    Washington DC
    Paid is the correct usage.
  3. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    Both forms are to be found in dictionaries. Paid is certainly more common; at least a Google check indicates this.

    I automatically use paid.

  4. danissaet Member

    Lima, Peru
    Spanish -Peru
    Thanks a lot to both of you.
  5. Nucleara

    Nucleara Senior Member

    Hello : D

    I never thought I would come across this too. Today I found "payed" being used by a girl in a chat forum. I'm sure she's an English native speaker so there's must be some reasons why she used it. As far as I know, at least from what I have heard of, sometimes young people like to use wrong grammars to make it good-looking. In that case I wouldn't be doubtful. But when I found this thread and have known that someone has come across this word (payed) too, I feel unsure again. So, what's going on ?
  6. pops91710

    pops91710 Senior Member

    Payed is now considered obsolete according to some dictionaries. However, it is in the Bible (both as paid and payed!), and may be the reason some still spell it the 'archaic' way.
  7. Nucleara

    Nucleara Senior Member

    So, you mean that it used to be used once in the past ? I mean, used to be correct ? , but now-- no?
  8. pops91710

    pops91710 Senior Member

    Archaic does not mean incorrect. Nevertheless, I would stay with paid simply because it has become the accepted spelling, especially in business.
  9. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    I know I'm probably in the minority, but in the expression "to pay a visit", the past tense I would write as payed a visit, I don't know why, but it just seems more natural to me. If the standard accepted form is different, then I guess it's something I am personally at odds with. Every other usage I can think of would be consistent with paid. Maybe the "paid" version seems to much like "purchased/gave money for", so in line with it being a different meaning, my mind has given it the different past tense.
  10. pops91710

    pops91710 Senior Member

    It makes sense. One has a connotation associated with money, and another does not. Good point. :idea:
  11. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    It's paid a visit for me, Alx:).
  12. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Another example I did remember but didn't mention was when it meant to sort of, hmm how do you explain something without using the word itself? "To pay out a line", like when a boat is leaving and it's no longer tied to land. I wasn't going to mention it but when looking in the OED it backed up my suspicion so I decided to mention it.. well it says:

    Inflections: Past tense and past participle paid, (chiefly in nautical senses) payed.

    So I guess that's the usage to be expected in "to pay out a line".
    However, as it's noted that the other paid is also well attested with this usage.
  13. I would advise all students to use paid.

    You will rarely, if ever, be wrong.

  14. Nucleara

    Nucleara Senior Member

    Ah, thank you for your replies: D

    Yes, I will always use "paid" . But I just want to know how it could become "payed" and you all has helped me.

    Thank you so much !
  15. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    This is quite fascinating. I had never encountered "payed" before. I've just checked two of the leading US dictionaries, Random House and American Heritage. They agree: The past tense of pay is paid, with one exception: When the meaning is "to let out a rope or cable by slackening it", you can take your choice; either paid or payed is correct. In all other uses (paid the bill, paid a visit, etc.), "payed" is obsolete, hence incorrect in contemporary usage.
  16. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Most readers would consider "payed" to be an error. While it may have been used at an earlier time in history, and the English language doesn't have a central body that can decree "this is no longer correct," to me that's enough of a reason not to use it.
  17. candy-grammer New Member

    English - USA
    I know I am relatively late to this thread, but to provide some context for the ambiguity, in French, the verb to pay is "Payer." It is one of the few verbs that can be conjugated as "paie" or "paye" in the present tense, and is still fully accepted either way. Though I have no official proof that this option is a reason for the ambiguity in English, but I find it rather likely, based on the verbs being cognates, that this is the source of the uncertainty in English.
  18. nuggets12345 Member

    < Newest discussion has been added to previous thread.
    Please scroll up and read from the top. Cagey, moderator. >

    Can someone explain to me the difference between Payed and Paid?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2015
  19. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    These are just variant spellings, nuggets. Our dictionary mentions "payed" as an alternate spelling for "paid". There is no difference in meaning. I ordinarily use "paid". "Payed" looks strange to me.
  20. nuggets12345 Member

    Thank you!
  21. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think it is clear that paid is the accepted spelling these days. However, we write stayed instead of staid: this struck me as I read Jane Austen writing in the early 19th century who consistently wrote staid. Many other similar words also use -ed: prayed, sprayed, bayed.

    Two other words have -aid: laid and said, although it might be added that said contains a different vowel than say.
  22. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    As an aside, after all these years, you have caused the penny to drop - it's the same word... I had always taken staid and stayed as two separate words:

    staid (adj.) Settled in character; of grave or sedate deportment; dignified and serious in demeanour or conduct; free from flightiness or caprice. a1834 C. Lamb Good Clerk in Misc. Wks. (1871) 386 His whole deportment is staid, modest, and civil. (OED)
    stayed as the pp of to stay. "This is the house where he stayed."
  23. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    When I stumbled across this thread my first thought was "payed - boats - deck seams - hot tar". I find the supposed nautical usage reported on various web dictionaries curious. There's two verbs with nautical application, both of which are in the Wordreference dictionary, but not both in both sections.

    Of the same etymology as all the common meanings of "to pay" we have "to pay out". I'd never write "He payed out the rope", I'd use the commonly-accepted form "He paid out the rope". There's no justification for using "paid out" for money and "payed out" for rope - it's the same verb and almost the same sense. It's perfectly OK for a landlubber up a rock face to pay out some slack in a climbing rope - he doesn't need to be on a boat.

    The other verb, of completely different etymology (Old French peier), is "to pay"
    There's no question here at all. The past form is "payed" as in "He payed the deck seams with tar." The language loses a little every time a boat maintenance website author confuses the word with the much commoner "to pay" (Old French payer) and writes "paid"
  24. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    It seems to me that this thread is not about grammar, or even usage, but about spelling. As a previous poster said, "Stick with 'paid' and you'll rarely, if ever, be wrong." (They're pronounced the same, at any rate.)
  25. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Isn't spelling usage in written English?
  26. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    A very very little, perhaps, Andy. I've never heard of that verb pay ~ and was surprised to hear that there's even such a thing as a 'boat maintenance website':confused:
  27. almostgal

    almostgal Senior Member

    From what I learned in business, payed is used for cheque and I normal use paid for a visit.
  28. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    I have only ever seen payed used by people who have poor grammar and/or spelling skills, who use poor punctuation - or none - and who don't care about these things.

    I am not saying that there is no proper place for it, but if so, it's fairly obscure. When I have seen it, it was a mistake. You may run across it frequently because there are a lot of people on the internet who simply don't care to learn.
  29. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    I'm not sure how to take that, Sparky. I thought my grammar and spelling skills were above the British average, and I do care about these things. I used "payed" earlier in the thread and explained why.
  30. Linkway Senior Member

    British English
    Yes, Andy sayed that.
  31. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    Andy, your grammar and spelling skills are probably above mine.

    What I tried to say - and probably said badly - is that I, personally, have not seen the word used by people who know what they're doing. Well, except you. Obviously you know what you're doing, so I have learned something new.

    I do not believe, however, that "payed" is used often in American English by people who are as careful as you. Therefore, I suspect that either (1) it's a BE/AE difference, or (2) there is a fine distinction I never learned. Based on my experience, I think it's #1.

    However, I have seen a LOT of people say "payed" who also say "sayed" and "he went" and "you should of seen what judy and i done yesterddy oh my god i though brian was gonna die we payed $10 for the movie it sucked"

    Having seen far too much of that kind of thing, my first impulse is to assume that "payed" is a mistake.
  32. MuttQuad

    MuttQuad Senior Member

    New York, NY
    English - AmE
    "Paid" is used with reference to payments, usually of money or some other store of value.

    "Payed" is still in very common use, at least in AmE," with reference to nautical lines or ropes. AHD4 defines this use as: Past tense and past participle paid or payed (pd) To let out (a line or cable) by slackening.
  33. Copperknickers Senior Member

    Scotland - Scots and English
    What's wrong with saying 'he went'?

    Anyway call it ignorance but I didn't know until now that 'payed' was an incorrect spelling, I always assumed it was one of those variable spellings like 'spelled' and 'spelt'. I preferred 'payed' because it's the less irregular of the two, and I'll continue to use it in informal settings because I don't like propagating irregularities. To be perfectly honest I think the English language would be a little better off without all the 'paids' and 'saids', but then that's partly the result of coming from (an area of) Scotland where we pronounce 'said' as 'sayed' so that's how I'd like to write it. Anyway, rant over, I suppose we must stick to the 'correct' usage for now and hope that the ignorance of the youth will eventually restore the more logical 'payed' spelling.
  34. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I must admit I was half-expecting it to be listed as a permissible alternative and was a bit surprised when I looked it up to find that it wasn't. It does seem to be quite widely used informally in BE and I wouldn't dream of drawing inferences about anyone's standard of grammar or spelling skills if I came across it.:eek:
  35. neil.corrigan12 New Member

    english - Australia
    I also have the same question in my mind. I'm confused what to use just like in check deposit or cheque deposit. Well, great to know that I can use both paid and payed!
  36. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    Good question. I think I meant to write "he had went."

    Anyway, now I think I need to get over myself. Working on it.

Share This Page