Is "pay for the purchase" correct? Would it not mean something like "pay for the privilege of being able to buy something"? The context is a school newsletter and the phrase is as follows: "These funds were also used to pay for the purchase of an agenda for each student...". Thanks!
"Pay for the purchase" is redundant, as "purchase" is a form of payment, so you've got two lots of paying in there. I would just say
"These funds were also used to purchase an agenda for each student..."
"These funds were also used to pay for an agenda for each student..."
The second option seems more natural to me but i think either is fine.
Technically, purchase refers to both the payment and the acquisition of what was paid for.
Purchase verb Acquire (something) by paying for it; buy - ODO
In common usage, however, purchase is sometimes used as a noun, for which the acquisition aspect of the transaction dominates. Consider this refund policy found via a web search (I am not knowingly affiliated with Quality Diam):
Please contact us if you are not satisfied with your purchase. We’ll let you know how to return your purchase. You may return the item in its original condition within 7 days of receiving it, for a full refund or an exchange. - QualityDiam
The purchase is said to be returnable in its original condition, with a full refund or exchange. This sounds very much like purchase is used as a reference (metonymic, perhaps) to the goods rather than the money.
Is "pay for the purchase" correct?
Given the above, the natural reading is that purchase was used as a noun that referred to whatever was acquired. In that case, the phrase is correct and refers to the payment for whatever was acquired.