Updated jan Pije's lessons/Lesson 7 Prepositions 2 Other prepositions

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Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives

anpa - ground; low, deep; to lower, to defeat

insa - inside, stomach

monsi - rear, back, behind

sewi - high, above, roof, top, sky

Usually Prepositions

sama - same, similar

tan - reason, cause; because of

poka - side; beside, nearby, with

anpa, insa, monsi, and sewi

Although you might be tempted to use these words as prepositions, they are actually nouns. You have to use another preposition along with these words. Here are some examples.

ona li lon sewi mi. -- "He is in my above." He is above me.
pipi li lon anpa mi. -- The bug is underneath me.
moku li lon insa mi. -- Food is inside me.
len li lon monsi mi. -- Clothes are behind me.

So you see, these words as used here are nouns, and mi is a possessive pronoun meaning "my". So sewi mi means something like "my above" or "the area that is above me". And since these words are merely nouns, you must still have a verb; in the above examples, lon is acting as the verb. Don't forget to include a verb!

Since these words aren't prepositions, they are free for other uses, just like any other noun/adjective/verb:

monsi as a body part
monsi can mean either the back or the butt
anpa as a verb
mi anpa e jan utala. -- I defeated the warrior.

sama, and tan

In and of themselves, these words are more or less common sense to use, but I need to point out a few things just to make sure that everything's clear.


This word can be used for several different parts of speech, but I don't think that it's too difficult to understand. Let's look at a few examples:

jan ni li sama mi. -- That person is like me.
ona li lukin sama pipi. -- He looks like a bug.
sama li ike. -- Equality is bad.

Easy, right? Let's move on to tan.


I can't cover everything that you need to know about this preposition yet. However, it is the last Toki Pona preposition, and so it needs to be at least introduced here.

Again, let's look at an example:

mi moku tan ni: mi wile moku.

This literally says "I eat because-of this: I want to-eat". A more casual translation would be "I eat because I'm hungry".

That's about all for this word. (Yay!) You'll see it again when we start learning about asking questions in Toki Pona, but it means the same thing then, too.


poka is rather unique in that it can act both as a noun/adjective and also as a preposition. Let's look at each of these uses separately.

poka as a noun/adjective

This use is the same as you saw earlier in anpa, insa, monsi, and sewi. Here are some examples:

ona li lon poka mi. -- He is at my side. He is beside me.
jan poka -- neighbor; someone who is beside you
poka telo -- "water side"; in other words, the beach

poka as a preposition

Unlike anpa and the rest, poka can also be used directly as a preposition. These two sentences below have the same meaning, but you go about them in a different way:

mi moku poka jan pona mi. -- I ate beside my friend.
mi moku lon poka pi jan pona mi. -- I ate at side of my friend. (Note: This sentence uses pi, which isn't taught until a later lesson. I wanted to present this usage of poka here, but don't worry if the sentence confuses you due to its use of pi.)

So, you see, you can treat poka either as a noun/adjective or as a preposition. It's up to you, but whichever way you choose you can still express your thought. Here is another example:

mi utala e jan ike poka jan nasa. -- I fought an enemy with a drunk guy.
mi utala e jan ike lon poka pi jan nasa. -- I fought an enemy at the side of a drunk guy.

That's not so bad, now is it?


Try translating these sentences from English to Toki Pona.

My friend is beside me.

The sun is above me.

The land is beneath me.

Bad things are behind me.

I’m okay because I’m alive.

I look at the land with my friend.

I look at the land with my friend.

People look like ants.

And now try changing these sentences from Toki Pona into English:

poka mi li pakala.

mi kepeken e poki e ilo moku.

jan li lon insa tomo.


jan pona mi li lon poka mi.

suno li lon sewi mi.

ma li lon anpa mi.

ijo ike li lon monsi mi.

mi pona tan ni: mi lon.

mi lukin e ma poka jan pona mi.

mi lukin e ma lon poka pi jan pona mi.

jan li lukin sama pipi.

My hip hurts.

I’m using a bowl and a spoon.

Somebody’s inside the house.

Nick G says: No reason why poka should be handled differently from anpa, sewi, etc. Poka and those words can be nouns, verbs, and prepositions. All the examples here that show anpa, sewi, etc. are talking about something EXISTING somewhere. That's why they use lon. But none of the examples show something like "I fight under my friend": mi utala anpa jan pona mi. No reason why it should have different syntax than "I fight beside my friend." The existential sentences "I live beside/under my friend" also have the same syntax, as noted already: "mi lon poka/anpa jan pona mi" or "ona li lon poka/anpa mi."