Updated jan Pije's lessons/Lesson 4 Direct Objects and Compound Sentences

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ilo - tool, device, machine

kili - any fruit or vegetable

ni - this, that

ona - he, she, it

pipi - bug, insect, spider

ma - land, country, region, outside area

ijo - something, anything, stuff, thing


jo - to have; ownership, possession

lukin - to see, to look at; vision, sight

pakala - mess up, destroy; accident

unpa - have sex with; sex; sexual

wile - to want, to need, to have to; desire

Grammatical Words

e - introduces direct object (see notes below)

Direct objects using e

In lesson three, we saw how phrases such as mi moku could have two potential meanings: I'm eating or I am food. You have to rely on context heavily in these situations. However, there is one way to specify that you want to say I'm eating versus I am food. Observe:

mi moku e kili. = I eat fruit.
ona li lukin e pipi. = He's watching the bug.

Whatever is getting action done on itself is the "direct object," and in Toki Pona, we separate the verb and the direct object with e so that there is no confusion.

Also in lesson three we discussed how sina pona, like mi moku, has two possible meanings: You are good or You're fixing. Normally, it would mean You are good simply because no one really says I'm fixing without actually telling what it is that they are trying to fix. With e, you can now specify:

ona li pona e ilo. = She's fixing the machine.
mi pona e ijo. = I'm fixing something.

If you have had the opportunity to study a language such as Latin, German, or Esperanto, the direct object should not be too difficult for you. Otherwise, try to practice using it (And don't forget to keep practicing li as well.). Once you get a little further into Toki Pona, you'll see why e is necessary.

Direct objects using e with wile

If you need to say that you want to do something, follow this example:

mi wile lukin e ma. = I want to see the countryside.
mi wile pakala e sina. = I must destroy you.

As you can see, e doesn't come until after the infinitive in these two sentences, rather than before it. A few people have mistakenly said things such as, "mi wile e pakala e sina," so now you can be on your guard against this mistake.

Compound sentences

There are two ways to make compound sentences in Toki Pona; one way involves using li, and the other way involves using e. Since you've now studied both of these words, we'll cover how to use both of them to make compound sentences. Observe:

pipi li lukin li unpa.

This would be translated as, "The bug looks and has sex." By putting li before each verb, you can show how the subject, which is pipi in this case, does more than one thing.

mi moku li pakala.

This says, "I eat and destroy." While li is still omitted before moku because the subject of the sentence is mi (Look back over lesson three if you've forgotten this rule), we still use it before the second verb, pakala. Without the li there, the sentence would be chaotic and confusing. Compound sentences with sina follow this same pattern.

The other type of compound sentence is used when there are several direct objects of the same verb, like in this following example:

mi moku e kili e telo.

This says "I eat/drink fruit and water." e is used multiple times because kili and telo are both direct objects, and so e must precede them both. Here's another example:

mi wile lukin e ma e suno. -- I want to see the land and the sun.

Whew! That was a bit confusing. You might want to take some time to re-read what all has been said or reflect on it. When you think you're ready, try these practice exercises:


Try translating these sentences from English to Toki Pona.

I have a tool.

She’s eating fruit.

Something is watching me.

He wants to squish the spider.

Pineapple is a food and is good.

The bug is thirsty.

mi lukin e ni.

mi wile unpa e ona.

jan li wile jo e ma.

mi jan li suli.


mi jo e ilo.

ona li moku e kili.

ijo li lukin e mi.

ona li wile pakala e pipi.

kili li moku li pona.

pipi li wile moku e telo.

I am looking at that.

I want to have sex with him/her.

People want to own land.

I am somebody and am important.