lesson 7 - prepositions


󱤲 mani

money, cash, savings, wealth; something used in trade

mani speaks to things used in trade, such as fiat money, livestock, spices, or anything else being framed as a tool of bartering. anything can be mani, but by using mani for it you're throwing most of its other qualities to the side. For example, if I use mani to describe coriander, I am framing its culinary usage as irrelevant. I do not care if it will be cooked with. I only care that it will be used in an exchange.


󱤬 lon

located at, present at, real, true, existing

For many people, lon is core to the philosophy of toki pona. It's a key example that ties together the physical and metaphysical. lon is existence, lon is truth, lon is reality. lon is not only existing at a place, but also existing during a time, or in a context. lon's usage outside of a preposition mostly derives from this meaning of existing.

󱥩 tawa

going to, toward; for; from the perspective of; moving

tawa is motion. tawa frequently has a destination, and when used as a preposition, it marks the word after it as this destination. a destination isn't critical to tawa though; speakers will use tawa for vibrating or shaking in place, or wandering. When tawa is used as a preposition, it marks that which the motion approaches. This can be physical, but metaphysically tawa can mark a recipient, beneficiary, point of perspective, etc.

󱥧 tan

by, from, because of; origin, cause

tan is some sort of point of origin. It can be a place or object, like a birthing parent or the source of a river, but it can also be a reason like a thrilling feeling or the fear of being yelled at. this corresponds with tan's use as a preposition, where it MARKS this point of origin, i.e. the word directly after prepositional tan is also some sort of point of origin in the same exact way.

󱥖 sama

same, similar; each other; sibling, peer, fellow; as, like

sama can be all qualities of similarities and samenesses. Two siblings are sama because they have a parent in common. two stringed instruments are sama because they both have strings. Two action figures of the same exact character are sama.

󱤙 kepeken

to use, by means of

kepeken is using. it is usually used as a preposition and not as a transitive verb, and marks the word after it as the object of usage. For example, "mi kepeken ilo" can be "I use a tool," and "mi pali e tomo kepeken ilo" can mean "I build a house using a tool." when used as a noun, it can refer to a specific instance of using something or usage in general. For example, "kepeken ni ilo sina li ike" "the way you're using the tool is bad." Many speakers consider nasin a better choice for this.



󱤬 lon, 󱥩 tawa, 󱥧 tan, 󱥖 sama, and 󱤙 kepeken are prepositions.

prepositions are used to express specific details about the predicate, like how or where. just like preverbs, prepositions can be negated by the word 󱤂 ala. the preposition is appended to the end of the sentence, followed by a phrase.

subject 󱤧 ( predicate 󱤉 object) preposition phrase
subject li ( predicate e object) preposition phrase

󱤴󱥉 󱤬 󱥭󱤶
mi pali lon tomo moku
~ i work at a restaurant

the preposition can also be the predicate:

󱥆󱤧 󱤬 󱥭󱤴
ona li lon tomo mi
~ they are at my house

prepositions can be stacked:

󱤴󱤖󱥡 󱤬 󱥭󱥡 󱥖 󱥞
mi kama sona lon tomo sona sama sina
~ i learned in school just like you

prepositions can also be used as regular words:

tawa sina li musi
~ your movements are amusing


󱤲󱤼󱤧 󱤬 󱥭󱤲
mani mute li lon tomo mani
~ there's lots of money at the bank

󱤑󱤧 󱥩 󱥭󱥞
jan li tawa tomo sina
~ a person goes to your house

󱤴󱥉󱤉󱤌󱤼 󱤙 󱤎
mi pali e ijo mute kepeken ilo
~ i make lots of things with tools

󱤴󱥬󱤉󱥔󱥞 󱥧 󱥁󱦜󱤴󱥅󱤉󱥞
mi toki e pona sina tan ni · mi olin e sina
~ i say good things about you because i love you

mi lon e tomo sina
~ i make your house exist


translate from toki pona to english

mi lukin pana e kasi tawa sina

~ i'm trying to give you a flower

ijo li awen sona e pona sina tan ni · sina awen pana e sona ni tawa ona

~ people remember how good you are because you keep reminding them

mi wile sona e tan

~ i wanna know the reasons

ijo mute li wile e ilo tawa tan ni · tomo pali ona li weka mute

~ a lot of people need a car because their place of work is far away

lipu wile li lon tomo sina

~ the document of wishes is at your place

~ the necessary papers are in your room

translate from english to toki pona

i saw someone who looked just like you

~ mi lukin e ijo · ona li sama sina tawa lukin

they wanna give you money

~ ona li wile pana e mani tawa sina

this house needs colourful flowers

~ tomo ni li wile e kasi pi kule mute

people work for bad reasons

~ ijo li pali tan ike

birds can learn a lot of things with books

~ waso li ken kama sona e ijo mute kepeken lipu

read sitelen pona


~ wile pi waso ike li ni · sina pana e mani ale sina tawa ona

~ the villainous bird's demand is that you give it all your money


~ ona li wile ala pana e ilo ona tawa sina

~ they don't want to lend you their tool


~ wawa mi li tan olin sina

~ my confidence comes from your love


~ lukin sina li sama lukin pipi

~ you eyes look similar to a bug's eyes


~ mi wile e mani tan toki pona mi

~ i want to be compensated for the great speech i gave