Scots Learners’ Grammar


11. Time

To answer the phrase Whit’s the time? (What time is it?):

Fower (o’ clock) or fower oors juist efter fower

the back o fower

ten efter fower

 a quarter efter fower

hauf fower

a quarter til/tae five

ten til/tae/frae five

juist afore five.

Until a few generations ago Scots hauf fower would have meant 3.30 (as still in Flemish/Dutch). Units are saicant, meenit, oor (remember no plural forms immediately after numbers).

Some common expressions of time:

morn morning twalours/nuin midday

midnicht midnight

weeoors early morning

keek o day sunrise

mornin morning

nuin or twal-oors noon

efternuin afternoon

sundoon sunset

gloamin just after sunset

eenin/fornicht evening

nicht nightday day

the day today

the morn tomorrow

 the morn’s morn tomorrow morning

the nicht tonight

yestreen yesterday

week week

fortnicht fortnight

month month

year year

The modern forms of the days of the week are:







Sunday is also the Sawbath, and Friday is, if you’re lucky, Peyday ! As usual you will see some spelling differences, sometimes the older forms Monanday and Tyseday.

Nixt/neist is used differently for days of the week. This Seturday is the equivalent of English ‘next Saturday;, while nixt Seturday is the next Saturday but one.

The months of the year are











The last five months are of course similar in many European languages.

Laist, referring to time, is used like English ‘last’ (but ‘last year’ can be fernyear). (When ‘last’ refers to position, use hin(ner) or hinnermaist).

The Fower Saisons:

Spring /Ware SpringSimmer Summer

Hairst Autumn

Winter Winter

A few important days in the Scottish calendar are

Ne’erday New Year’s DayBurns’ Nicht 25 Jan

Fastern’s een Shrove Tuesday

Pace Easter

Gowk’s Day or Huntigowk 1 April

Beltane 1 or 3 May

Guy Fawkes Nicht 5 November

Sanct Andra’s Day 30 November

Yuil Een 24 December

Yuil Day Christmas

Hogmanay New Year’s Eve.

The autumn half term school holiday is still sometimes called the tattie holiday – a time when traditionally children were needed to help with bringing in the potato harvest.

The Scots Quarter Days (still used at some Universities) are Cannlemas (2 Feb), Lammas (1 Aug), Michelmas (29 Sep) and Mairtinmas (11 November).


Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top