Scots Learners’ Grammar


12. Exclamations and ‘markers’


Scots has a remarkable range of colourful exclamations, several derived from religious phrases e.g. michtie (Almighty God!), crivvens (Christ defend us!), fegs (Faith!). A few other common ones are:

Ach! impatienceAwa wi ye! disbelief

Ay ay disbelief

Blethers! Bletheration! disbelief

Caa cannie! Watch out!

Crivvens! astonishment

Feech! disgust

Fegs! surprise

Gaun yersel! Go/come on!

Guid kens! puzzlement

Haivers! disbelief

Haud on! Stop!Hievens! wonder

Hish! Be quiet!

Jings! surprise

Mercie me! surprise

Michtie! alarm

Niver! disbelief

Och! impatience

Wheesht! Be quiet!

Yer grannie! disbelief)


You really know you are a Scots speaker when you start saying these spontaneously. Oh and don’t forget real Scots shout Heech!, Hooch! or Heuch! whenever dancing to a reel.

Discourse markers

These are important wee words and short phrases dropped into speech to establish a rapport between the speakers and generally keep the conversation going.

Ye ken, och weel, A’m seein him the morn onieweys, like.

Scots markers include words phrases such as


A/ye ken


in fack



oh/och aye

aye weel


ken (often in a final position)

Like (in a final position¬† as in the example) is also a common marker in some dialects but thought of as ‘colloquial’.

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