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The short answer is "because Japanese speakers will it to be that way." The pedagogical answer is that 払う operates on お金, not the thing you're paying for. This is exactly the same as in English. You don't "pay drinks." You pay for drinks. Drinks are not the direct object in English or Japanese. The money is the direct object, so you follow it with を. If ...


You can't ✗ "pay the drinks" ✗ 飲み物を払う in English either, even though you can ○ "pay the bill" ○ 勘定を払う ○ "pay the rent" ○ 家賃を払う ○ "pay attention" ○ 注意を払う In other words, 「〜を払う」 corresponds more closely to "to pay ~" than "to pay for ~", which should not be surprising considering that is the syntactic equivalent. As to why ...

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