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Comparisons can be divided into two types: comparatives, which pit two things against each other, and superlatives, which describe one thing as beyond everything else in its category.
sama[edit | edit source]
toki pona has one word that directly handles comparing one thing against another. By using sama as a preposition, you make a statement about equality or similarity.
- wawa mi li sama wawa sina.
- My strength is like your strength.
- ko mi li jelo e sinpin sama ala ko sina.
- My goo paints the wall yello, unlike your goo.
It may be useful to use sama as a content word as well.
- lipu suli li lon poki. palisa pi suli sama li lon poki.
- Big documents are in the container. As-big sticks are in the container.
- kiwen pi sama sike li ken ala tawa anpa. taso kiwen sike a li ken tawa anpa.
- Round-ish hard objects can't roll down. But round hard objects can roll down.
Comparatives[edit | edit source]
toki pona doesn't have a specific grammatical construction for comparatives, but there are nonetheless multiple ways to express them:
- Separate the claim into two sentences with an implied connection:
- poki mi li lili. sike sina li suli.
- My bag is small. Your ball is big.
- poki mi li suli (lili). sike sina li suli mute.
- My bag is (a bit) big. Your ball is very big.
- Do the above, but make the connection explicit with taso:
- poki mi li lili, taso sike sina li suli.
- My bag is small, but your ball is big.
- Use la to make the magnitude of one claim be relative to the other subject:
- poki mi la sike sina li suli.
- In terms of my bag, your ball is big.
- Similarly, use tawa to put the claim "in the perspective" of another:
- sike sina li suli tawa poki mi.
- Your ball is big to my bag.
- Use a superlative with a limited scope:
- poki mi en sike sina la sike li suli nanpa wan.
- In terms of my bag and your ball, the ball is number one in bigness.
- poki mi anu sike sina la sike li suli mute.
- In terms of my bag or your ball, the ball is very big.
With any of these methods, you can either:
- Compare the objects:
- poki mi la poki sina li loje mute.
- In terms of my bag, your bag is very red.
- Or compare the quality itself:
- loje pi poki mi la loje pi poki sina li suli.
- In terms of my bag's redness, your bag's redness is big.
A fuller list (albeit with some very weird examples) can be found here, courtesy of /u/forthentwice on Reddit.
Superlatives[edit | edit source]
Superlatives are even simpler:
- Use nanpa wan:
- poki sina li suli nanpa wan.
- Your bag is number one in bigness.
- Intensify the claim:
- poki sina li suli mute.
- Your bag is very big.
- Use a comparative (see section 1), with the other argument being everything that is relevant:
- poki sina li suli. poki ante ale li lili.
- Your bag is big. All other bags are small.