When To Use “e” In Toki Pona
In Toki Pona, the particle “e” is used to introduce the direct object of a verb in a sentence. This means it comes after the verb and before the thing that the verb is acting upon. If the sentence has a subject and a verb, and the action of the verb is being done to something, that “something” is the direct object.
Here’s a basic example:
“mi moku e kili.” – I eat fruit.
In this sentence, “mi” (I) is the subject, “moku” (eat) is the verb, and “kili” (fruit) is the direct object. The “e” comes between the verb and the direct object.
Here’s a more complex example:
“sina toki e toki pona tawa mi.” – You speak Toki Pona to me.
In this sentence, “sina” (you) is the subject, “toki” (speak) is the verb, “toki pona” is what’s being spoken (the direct object of ‘speak’), and “tawa mi” (to me) is a prepositional phrase.
It’s important to note that “e” is not used if the verb is “li” (to be) or if the verb doesn’t have a direct object. For instance:
“mi jan.” – I am a person.
In this sentence, “mi” (I) is the subject, “jan” (person) is the predicate noun. There’s no “e” in this sentence because the verb “li” is omitted (which is common when “mi” or “sina” is the subject), and “jan” is not a direct object, it’s a predicate noun.
Similarly, in a command, “e” is used to denote what the command is acting upon:
“o lukin e suno!” – Look at the sun!
In this case, “o” is used to indicate a command, “lukin” (look) is the verb, “e” is the direct object marker, and “suno” (sun) is the direct object.
Understanding “e” and its usage is one of the key parts of learning Toki Pona grammar, as it helps in distinguishing the action of a sentence and the entity upon which that action is performed.