How to Tell the Time | Irregular Times Version

Welcome to the second and last part in our series on time-telling. In the first part, we looked at how to tell the o’clocks in Twi. The present one takes a look at the irregular times, the likes of 4:15, 9:21, 2:01, etc.

Video Lesson

There are typically two ways to tell the irregular times in Twi, just like it is in English.

In English, you can tell the time:

  1. in the clockwise direction: [number of minutes that’s gone past the o’clock] –> minutes –> past –> [already-struck o’clock].


  • [20] minutes past [2 o’clock] –> 2:20
  • [12] minutes past [9 o’clock] –> 9:12
  1. in the anticlockwise direction: [number of minutes left before the o’clock] –> minutes –> to/before –> [yet-to-be-struck o’clock].


  • [5] minutes to/before [3 o’clock] –> 2:55
  • [25] minutes to/before [6 o’clock] –> 5:35

Telling Irregular Times in Twi

  1. In the clockwise direction
  • abɔ –> [already-struck o’clock] –> apa ho –> simma –> [number of minutes that’s gone past the o’clock]

Example: abɔ [nnɔnsia] apa ho simma [aduanan] – 6:40


  • [already-struck o’clock] abɔ–> apa ho –> simma –> [number of minutes that’s gone past the o’clock]

Example: [nnɔnsia] abɔ apa ho simma [aduanan] – 6:40

  1. in the anticlockwise direction:
  • aka –> simma –> [number of minutes left before the o’clock] –> na abɔ [yet-to-be-struck o’clock]

Example: aka simma [aduonu] na abɔ [nnɔnson] – 6:40

Let’s look at more examples in the table below:

abɔ nnɔnson apa ho simma aduonu numit’s 7:25
it’s struck 7 o’clock and gone past it by 25 minutes
aka simma nwɔtwe na abɔ nnɔnwɔtweit’s 7:52
it’s left with 8 minutes to strike 8 o’clock
nnɔnnum abɔ apa ho simma aduanan nkronit’s 5:49
5 o’clock has struck and gone past it by 49 minutes
aka simma dubaako na abɔ nnɔnsiait’s 5:49
it’s left with 11 minutes to strike 6 o’clock
abɔ awia dɔnko apa ho simma mmienuit’s 1:02 p.m.
it’s struck 1 o’clock in the afternoon and gone past it by 2 minutes

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Tikya Yaw
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