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


Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives Usually prepositions
anpa ground; low, deep; to lower, to defeat sama same, similar
insa inside, stomach tan reason, cause; because of
monsi rear, back, behind lon poka beside, nearby, with. (By itself, poka means side.)
sewi high, above, roof, top, sky

anpa, insa, monsi, poka, and sewi

Although you may be tempted to use these words as prepositions, they're actually nouns. You have to use another preposition (usually lon or tawa) along with them. Some examples:

ona li lon sewi mi. = "He is in my above," i.e. 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."
mi moku lon poka sina. = "I'm eating beside [or with] you."
sina lukin e ona lon poka mi. = "You'll see him next to me."

These words 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." To reiterate: Since these words are merely nouns, you must use them with a preposition (or a verb that doubles as a preposition). In all of the above examples, lon serves as the preposition. Don't forget to include a preposition!

For now, you'll only be able to use these words for very simple prepositional phrases, basically just ones that end with only one word. (In other words, you haven't yet learned how to translate a sentence like, "I am above the big house." For now you can only say, "I am above the house," or "I'm above it.") To make more complex phrases, you'll need to learn about the word pi, which will be taught in lesson 11.

Since these words aren't prepositions, they're free for other uses, just like any other noun/adjective/verb: monsi can mean the back side of the body or the buttocks. anpa can be a verb:

mi anpa e jan utala. = "I defeated the warrior."


sama can be used for several different parts of speech, but it's easy to understand. Let's look at a few examples:

jan ni li sama mi. = "That person is like me."
sama li ike. = "Equality is bad."
ona li jan sama. = "She is a similar person."

By the way, jan sama is often used as a translation for "sibling." ona li jan sama mi could be used as a translation for She is my sister.


It's too early to learn everything you need to know about tan, but since it's the last Toki Pona preposition, let's at least learn a little about it now. Depending how it's used in a sentence, tan basically means either because of or from. (Rarely, you may see tan as a noun, but we'll discuss that in the next lesson.)

Let's learn from some examples:

mi moku tan ni: mi wile moku = This literally says, "I eat because-of this: I want to-eat." A more colloquial translation would be, "I eat because I'm hungry."
mi tan ma ike. = "I'm from a bad country."


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 beside the house.
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.
lon as a verb by itself means to exist, to be real, etc. It was mentioned like that when you learned the word in lesson 6, although we didn't directly cover it within the lesson.
mi lukin e ma lon poka tomo.
jan li lukin sama pipi.

My hip hurts.
I’m using a bowl and a spoon.
Somebody’s inside the house.