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


Nouns Verbs
ilo tool, device, machine jo to have; ownership, possession
kili any fruit or vegetable lukin* to see, to look at; vision, sight
ni this, that pakala mess up, destroy; accident
ona he, she, it unpa have sex with; sex; sexual
pipi bug, insect, spider wile to want, to need, to have to; desire
ma land, country, region, outside area
ijo something, anything, stuff, thing Grammatical Words
e introduces direct object (see notes below)

* The official dictionary lists lukin and oko--a word you'll learn in lesson 15--as being interchangeable. Traditionally, though, these two words had different connotations and uses, and most Toki Ponans seem to use these two words according to their traditional definitions, so this course will teach them that way.

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 must heavily depend on context when reading such sentences. However, there is a way to distinguish between "I'm eating" versus "I am food." Look at how e is used in these two examples:

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 use e to separate the verb and its direct object.

In the last lesson, you also learned that sina pona, like mi moku, has two possible meanings: "You are good" or "You're fixing." Realistically, it would mean "You are good" simply because no one really says "I'm fixing" without specifying what they're fixing. With e, you can now specify:

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

Many other languages (e.g., Latin, German, and Esperanto) use special features to denote the direct object, so you may already be familiar with this concept, but if not, practice using it. (Don't forget to practice li, too). As you progress into Toki Pona, you'll see why e is necessary.

Direct objects using e with wile

If you want to do something, you can say so like this:

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

As these examples show, e comes after the infinitive in these two sentences, not before it. A few people have mistakenly said things such as, "mi wile e pakala e sina," so be careful not to make the same mistake.

Compound sentences

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

Compound Sentences with li

Look at this example:

pipi li lukin li unpa. = "The bug looks and has sex."

If you put li before each verb, you can say that the subject (pipi in this sentence) does more than one thing.

This multiple-li is slightly different if the sentence begins with mi or sina:

mi moku li pakala. = "I eat and destroy."

Because this sentence starts with mi, you must omit li before the first verb (moku) (Review lesson 3 if you've forgotten this rule.), but still use it before the second verb (pakala). Without the li there, the sentence would be chaotic and confusing.

Compound Sentences with e

If there are several direct objects of the same verb, use multiple e's like in this example:

mi moku e kili e telo. = "I eat/drink fruit and water."

You use e multiple times because kili and telo are both direct objects, and 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."


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.
Hint: Think of the sentence like this: "The bug wants to drink water."

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

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.