Different people have different ideas about how toki pona is supposed to work. Given the language’s intentionally minimalist grammar and vocabulary, that’s to be expected. Here’s a list of my personal preferences and phrases that I use commonly.
In sentences that only have “mi” or “sina” as a subject, but several predicates (verbs or adjectives that would otherwise be separated by “li”, I separate the sentence into two:
mi pali. mi moku. - I work and eat.
I try to avoid using “en” anywhere other than the subject, but tolerate using it in phrases that follow “pi”.
When I use “kepeken” as a verb (“to use”) instead of a preposition (“using, with the help of”), I include the object marker “e” the same way I would with other verbs.
I may insert commas as pauses to differentiate between ambiguious phrases or to help in reading possibly confusing sentences. For example:
mi pana e tomo tawa sina. - I give your car.
mi pana e tomo, tawa sina. - I give you a house.
mi pana e tomo tawa, tawa sina. - I give a car to you.
I insert commas after “la” in all circumstances:
ken la, mi ken pali. - Maybe I can work.
tomo pali li open la, mi ken pali. - If the office is open, I can work.
I use “open” and “pini” as pre-verbs meaning “begin (doing smth)” “finish/stop (doing something)”.
When a numeral is used as a number, I usually write it with Arabic numerals. If it’s an ordinal number, the word “nanpa” may be represented with a number sign (
I don’t use “pi” before “nanpa” if it’s followed by an ordinal number.
I use “pu” as all possible parts of speech, not just as a verb.