Russian PAY Verb: 6 Options

Russian PAY verbs are not limited to платить which is covered in our Russian grammar course. Mostly, they can be used as synonyms. However, there are some grammatical differences between them. The meaning is sometimes slightly different, too. Read our examples and do the exercise below to check your understanding of this topic.


ПЛАТИТЬ за + Acc. – imperf. – to pay (to give money or send a payment for something)
платить за проезд – pay a fare
платить за квартиру – pay for your apartment
платить за свет – pay for electricity
платить в магазине за сделанные покупки – pay for your purchase in a shop
ЗАПЛАТИТЬ за + Acc. – perf. – to pay (emphasizes the idea that the payment has been completed; may mean ‘pay off’ or ‘return’).

Russian PAY: платить за + Accusative (examples)


УПЛАЧИВАТЬ (imperf.) and УПЛАТИТЬ (perf.) за + Acc. – perf. – to pay (this verb has an idea of making a payment in compensation for something, as well as for monetary obligations).
You can say уплатить за проезд instead of заплатить за проезд.
You may also see уплатить used without the ЗА preposition without a preposition it is used only with words that in one way or another denote a certain amount of money:
уплатить долги – pay off debts
уплатить штраф – pay a fine
уплатить вступительный взнос – pay an entrance fee
уплатить неустойку – pay a forfeit
уплатить в бюджет десять рублей – pay ten rubles to the budget
уплатить наличными деньгами – pay in cash
уплатить проценты по ссуде – pay interest on a loan
уплатить взнос за квартиру – pay the rent for the apartment
NB! The combination уплатить проезд is incorrect.

ОПЛАТИТЬ: Russian PAY + a direct object

ОПЛАЧИВАТЬ (imperfective) and ОПЛАТИТЬ (perfective) are transitive verbs which means they are commonly used with a direct object (Accusative case without a preposition). They may have an idea of paying some amount of money to repay something.
оплатить чью-то работу – pay for someone’s work
оплатить расходы по командировке – pay travel expenses
оплатить услуги связи – pay for communication services

оплатить задолженность – pay the debt
оплатить счёт (квитанцию) – pay the invoice
оплатить счёт за телефонные переговоры – pay your telephone bill
оплатить своё пребывание в гостинице – pay for your hotel stay
оплатить банковской картой – pay by bank card

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