Can someone help me with the question below?


While side dishes are ----- in Korea, they should be ----- in Japan.

What are the appropriate words for the blanks above?

For the first blank: "free" or "for free"

For the second blank: "paid for" or "paid"

I thought the answers were "free" and "paid for." What do you guys think?

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  • 3
    You can't pay side dishes, they can't accept your money. But you can pay (someone) for side dishes. For your first blank, I think free works better. – CDM Mar 1 '16 at 9:23
  • So true, ChongDogMillionaire. There is a sign on the restroom door in several stores in my area that says "Do not bring unpaid merchandise into the restroom". I think of all the unpaid merchandise, being dragged around, never receiving due recompense. – Lynnjamin Mar 1 '16 at 14:30

I think in the first blank both "free" and "for free" are technically correct, although I prefer "free" much better. See this question for details.

Side dishes are free in Korea. //OK

Side dishes are for free in Korea. //Probably OK, but some pedants might disagree.

As for the second blank, "paid for" is unequivocally the correct choice.

I must pay for side dishes in Japan => Side dishes must be paid for in Japan.

I must pay side dishes in Japan => Side dishes must be paid in Japan.*

  • Agreed. If you were to say "I paid the side dishes in Japan", that would literally mean you were giving money to the side dishes. You pay the restaurant, you pay for the side dishes. – David McKnight Mar 1 '16 at 11:26

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