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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STEPHEN AWIBA, known by his students as YAW, is the founding editor of LEARNAKAN.COM and LEARNAKANDICTIONARY.COM. He was born and raised in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital of Ghana, where Akan (Asante Twi) is spoken as the first language. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana and an MPhil in English Linguistics and Language Acquisition from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).


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