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Prepositions

Prepositions are words that are used before pronouns, nouns or their equivalents to express position, movement or circumstance relative to or affecting them.

Prepositions are frequently omitted at the end of relative clauses.

The mercat staund (that) A bocht it (frae).
The market stall from which I bought it.
At the wall's a raip (that) ye can pou the bucket back up (wi).
At the well is a rope with which you can pull the paile back up.
A haena been til a dance yet (that) A haena gotten hame (frae) the sel same nicht.
I haven't been to a dance yet from which I haven't got home the same night.

Prepositions of position and movement.

ablo
below
but
out of
aboot
about, around
by
by, beside
abuin
above
doun
down
aff
off
efter
after
afore
before, in front of
endlang
along
again
against
forenen(s)t
in front of, facing
ahint
behind
f(r)ae
from
alang
along
in
in
amang
among
intae/intil
into, inside
aneath
beneath
near/naur
near
anent
alongside, opposite
on
on, upon
aside
beside
oot
out
at
at
ootwith
outside
athort
athwart
ower
over, across
atween
between
tae/til
to
atweesh
between
throu
through
awa
away
up
up
ayont
beyond
upon
upon
back
at the back of
within
within
ben
into
withoot
without
 
 
yont
beyond

Particular syntax and idiom are connected to many prepositions.

Uses of ablo, often preceded by in.

He pit ane o his haunds in ablo the tails o his coat.
He but one of his hands under the tails of his coat.

Uses of aboot.

The tither's no bad but thay're aboot it.
The other's not bad but they're about the same.
He bade Aboot Brochty.
He resided in the neibourhood of Broughty Ferry.
Tak yer auld plaid aboot ye.
Wrap your old plaid around you.
Come in aboot the hoose.
Come into the house.
He gaed aboot the pairk.
He went around the field.

Uses of abuin.

He aye held his neb abuin the watter.
He always held his nose above the water.
Get Aff Tae, EdinburghPoster, Edinburgh

Uses of aff.

Aff often expresses the source of something.

The lad wisna wantin beaten aff that man.
The boy didn't deserve to be beaten by that man.
He wis fashin hissel aff you.
He was worrying because of you.
He teuk the coat aff me.
He took my coat from me.
A teuk it aff him.
I took it from him.
A gat the breid aff ma mither.
I got the bread from my mother.

Scots uses o where Standard English omits it.

Tak thon joug aff o the tap bink.
Take that jug off the top shelf.
A bit collop aff o the sou.
A small cut from the pig.

Uses of afore.

He stuid afore the door.
He stood in front of the door.

Again may also take the form agin.

At lang an last the law gaed agin him.
At long last the law acted against him.
The cycle's agin the waw.
The bicycle is against the wall.
She fell agin the bink.
She fell against the bench.

Uses of alang.

The troot soumed alang the shallaes.
The trout swam along the shallows.

Scots uses amang (also contracted 'mang) where Standard English uses 'in'.

He wrocht ootby amang the rain.
He worked outside in the rain.
Ower the muir amang the heather.
Over the moor in the heather.
The bairns wis oot amang the snaw.
The children were out in the snow.
She tint her gowd ring amang the saund.
She lost her gold ring in the sand.

Uses of aneath.

The dug's aneath the buird.
The dog is under the table.

Uses of anent.

Anent the kirk.
Opposite the church.
He turnt anent her.
He turned to face her.
He's appearin anent the juidge the morn.
He's appearing before the judge tomorrow.
A rin anent her doun the brae.
I ran alongside her down the slope.

Uses of aside.

Staundin doun aside the byre.
Standing down near the cow shed.
The birks aside the burn.
The birches beside the stream.

Uses of at.

He stuid at the yett.
He stood at the gate.
She wis at him.
She was by him.
A canna come at a name for't.
I can't think of a name for it.
She lat at him 'ithoot lissins.
She attacked him without respite.
Ye can tak the grue at her.
You may become disgusted with her.
She speirt at me anent ma wark.
She asked me about my work.
That drunken man wantit tae lay at me.
That drunkard wanted to strike me.
A need tae speir at ye hou ye war late.
I must ask you why you were late.
Thay war aye at me anent it.
They were always talking to me about it.
We are haen a gemm at the rummy
We are having a game of rummy.
The train cam in aboot sax at e'en.
The train arrived at approximately six in the evening.

Uses of athort.

Sae mony traivelers gaun back an forrit athort the kintra.
So many travelers going back and forth across the country.
Dinna lea' yer gear liggin athort the hoose.
Don't leave your belongings lying all over the house.

Uses of atween and atweesh.

Thare's nae luve tint atween thae twa.
There's no love lost between those two.
He stuid atweesh the door an the winnock.
He stood between the door and the window.

Uses of awa.

He wun awa hame.
He slipped off home.
The boat wis awa wi't.
The boat was done for.
The auld man wis awa wi't.
The old man was out of his senses/ill/dead.
Weel, that's awa wi't.
Well, that's it lost/done for.

Uses of ayont.

He wrocht ayont the brae.
He worked beyond the hill.

Uses of back.

Come an gie’s a haund, for A’m clean at a Back.
Come and help me, for I’m completely at a loss.
Back the close.
In the entrance, back from the street.

Uses of by.

He wis by himsel.
He was off his head.
By the glesses.
Beside the glasses.

Uses of but and ben.

ben indicates movement into the inner or best room or towards or nearer the speaker or a given point.

Gang ben the hoose.
Go into the inner room.
Come ben the hoose.
Come in (to) the house.

but indicates movement out or away from the speaker or spectator or in the sense of ‘across’ or ‘along’.

It's but the hoose.
It's in the outer room (kitchen).
Thay cam hodgin but the fluir.
They came hobbling across the floor.

Scots omits 'to' after doun (down) where Standard English retains it.

A'm gaun doun the shaps.
I'm going down to the shops.
Doun the hoose.
In the best room.
Doun the watter.
Down (along) the river.

Uses of efter.

We gaed efter him up the brae.
What do you want?
He ran efter the dug.
He ran after the dog.
He fell efter the back doun the stair.
He fell backwards down the stairs.
She’d fawen doun efter the heid atween it an the waw.
She’d fallen down head first between it and the wall.

Uses of endlang.

Throu the yett an endlang the pad.
Through the gate and along the path.
She cam endlang the brig.
Through the gate and along the path.

Uses of fornen(s)t.

The meenister sat fornent me at the table.
The minister sat opposite me at the table.
Whan A cam fornenst the gap.
When I arrived in front of the gap.

Uses of frae (fae).

Frae is a literary form - fae being common in speech, except in South West Central Scots and Southern Scots where it is pronounced thrae.

Whaur d'ye come frae?
Where do you come from?
He's awa frae his wark.
He's unable to work.

Uses of in and intae/intil. Intae is more commonly used in Southern and Central Scots than intil.

With verbs of movement Scots omits 'to' after in where Standard English retains it.
In colloquial speech in is often shortened to i' before consonants, many writers also use this form.

She ran in the hoose.
She ran into the house.
A gat it in a praisent.
I got it as a present.
Lay yer luif in mines, lass.
Lay your palm in mine, girl.
Sit intil the ingle.
Draw nearer the fire.
She didna want ither fowk tae hear, sae she said it in til hersel.
She didn't want other people to hear, so she whispered.
A winna gang in ower her door.
I won't go inside her door.
A niver pit a fit intil't.
I never put a foot inside it.
The Wee Hoose On The Hill, KinghornKinghorn, Fife

Uses of on.

Shoot on him afore he gangs.
Shout to him before he goes.
Hou lang maun A wait on thon train?
How long must I wait for that train?
Think on whaur she is.
Think about where she is.
Waitin on a bus.
Waiting for a bus.
She's sair on her shuin.
She mistreats her shoes.
She's mairit on ma brither.
She's married to my brother.
A waitit an oor on him.
I waited an hour for him.
Can ye no mak up on him?
Can't you overtake him?
Dinna mak on ye can write.
Don't pretend that you can write.
Can ye no mynd on thon chield?
Can't you remember about that fellow?
Cry on Willie tae come ower.
Call Willie to come over.
A wadna lippen on a politeecian.
I wouldn't trust a politician.
She wis fair on me efter A duntit her caur.
She was fair to me after I hit her car.
Ma grandfaither gaed on a stick.
My grandfather went supported by a stick.
He did it on himsel.
He did it on his own account
Lief is me on thon braw lassie.
I am fond of that beautiful girl.
Whaur'd ye faw on thon auld plaid.
Where did you discover that old plaid.
A happent tae faw on Hamish in the toun.
I happened to bump into Hamish in town.
Ye winna can mak muckle on't.
You won't be able to make much of it.
Ye aye yoke on the prentice.
You always find fault with the apprentice.
Mony lees is made on thon auld limmer.
Many lies are told about that old hussy.

Uses of oot.

Scots omits o (of) after oot (out) where Standard English retains it.
Oot on may be contracted oot'n.

He gaed oot the road.
He went along the road.
He teuk the thochtie oot a beuk.
He took the idea from a book.
We cam oot the shap an gaed ower the brig.
We came out of the shop and went across the bridge.
Ablo the waws, oot by the toun o Montrose.
Below the walls, outside the town of Montrose.
Weel, gae an see yer grannie oot o the yett.
Well, go and accompany your grandmother from the gate.
Ye’re aye tryin tae mak an auld wumman oot'n me.
You’re always trying to make an old woman out of me.

Uses of ootower. The unstressed form is sometimes written atour.

Keek ootower the door yont the road.
Peep outside the door along the road.
He’s airtin haurd ootower the braes o whin.
He’s heading hard across the slopes of gorse.
He bides ootower the mains ower by the heuch.
He lives beyond the home farm over the way from the quarry.

Uses of ootwith, often ootwi.

The lea rigs is ootwi the burgh.
The fallow fields are outside the borough.
Thay shoud tak thairsels ootwi the hoose.
They ought to leave the house.
The maiter wis ootwi his owerins.
The matter was beyond his control.

Uses of ower.

The wife hit me ower the heid.
My wife hit me on the head.
A spak til him ower the phone.
I spoke to him by telephone.
The bairn haed thrawn the baw ower the windae.
The baby had thrown the ball out of the window.
A’m no gaun tae get ower the bed for tae dae it.
I’m not going to get out of bed to do it.

Tae is used with the infinitive (in the mood that expresses, the verbal idea without reference to person, number or time). Til is usually used before nouns, with the definite or indefinite article and in Central and Southern Scots usually before words that begin with a vowel or the letter h.

Other uses of tae and til.

The meenister gaed awa til the kirk.
The minister went off to church.
A spak til him ower the phone.
I spoke to him by telephone.
Naur til his dochter.
Near to his daughter.

Uses of throu.

Send that paircel throu the post.
Send that parcel by post.
We gaed throu auld times thegither.
We talked about old times together.
A wis waukrif an gat up throu the nicht.
I was unable to sleep and got up during the night.

Uses of up.

Scots omits 'to' after up where Standard English retains it.

Are ye gaun up the braeheid?
Are you going up to the crest of the hill?
Are ye gaun tae redd up yer accoont?
Are you going to settle your account?
Coud ye redd up ma carburettor?
Could you adjust my carburettor?

Uses of within, often 'ithin, sometimes written 'athin'.

The new causey wisna 'ithin the schame.
The new causeway wasn't within the plan.
Juist 'ithin the door.
Just inside the door.

Uses of withoot, also wioot or 'ithoot, sometimes written 'athoot'.

A gaed awa 'ithoot ae bawbee in ma pootch.
I left without a penny in my pocket.
He'd be a hale sicht better aff 'ithoot it.
He'd be a lot better off without it.

Prepositions of time.

afore
before
ere
before
again
by, before
f(r)ae
from
at
at
in
in
atween
between
near/naur
near
ayont
past, later than
sin
since
by
by
syne
since
efter
after
till
until
 
 
within
within

Uses of afore.

A'll be hame afore ye.
I'll be home before you.

Again also takes the form agin, often contracted to 'gin.

His saidleclaith maun be ready agin the Kelsae races.
His saddlecloth must be ready in time for the Kelso races.
'Gin we get thare it'll be daurk!
By the time we get there it will be dark!

Uses of at.

Whit time's the dance at?
When does the dance begin?
He’s awa at the fishing the hale ouk.
He’s off fishing for the whole week.

Uses of atween.

It'll tak atween twinty an thritty meenit langer.
It'll take between twenty and thirty minutes longer.

Uses of by.

Be hame by twal.
Be home by twelve.
Thae aiples is by thair best.
Those apples are past their best.

Uses of efter.

Hit's aboot ten efter aicht.
It's about ten past eight.

Uses of ere.

A biggit the waw ere nuin.
I built the wall before noon.

Uses of f(r)ae.

Its five meenit frae nine. Whaur is he nou?
Its five to nine. Where is he now?

Uses of in.

The bus'll gang in aboot sax meenit.
The bus will leave in approximately six minutes.
A shuirly thocht that in the time.
I surely thought that at the time.

Uses of near or naur.

It's gey naur the twal o nicht.
It's very nearly midnight.

Uses of syne.

He’s been tawin awa brawly syne this mornin.
He’s been working away splendidly since this morning.

Within may be contracted to 'ithin, sometimes written 'athin'.

Can ye come 'ithin the neist oor?
Can you come within the next hour?

Prepositions of manner.

aboot
about
forby
bsides
anent
concerning
f(r)ae
of, by, than
binna
except, unless
maugre
notwithstanding
but
without, except
maugre o
despite
by
by, in comparrison, concering, except
o
of
efter
want, for
tae/til
to, in comparrison
for
for
wi
with

Uses of anent.

A s' write the provost anent thae ongauns.
I will write to the mayor concerning those going-ons.

Uses of binna.

A hae nae horse binna ma cuddie an wee Donald.
I have no horses besides my donkey and little Donald.

Uses of but.

A will dree ma weird but care or pain.
I shall endure my fate without care or pain.

Uses of by.

She's auld by me.
She’s old compared with me.
The beuk wis written by Shuggie Broun.
The book was written by Hugh Brown.
A ken nocht waur by her.
I know nothing worse concerning her.

Uses of forby.

Thare wis naebody forby masel in the wids.
There was no one except me in the woods.

Uses of maugre.

Maugre aw the cummer thay haed tae warstle wi, thay held on gaun.
Notwithstanding the distress they had to wrestle with, they kept going.
Gang oot maugre o the rain.
Go out despite the rain.

Uses of o.

A'm the better o that.
I'm the better for that.
He's the waur o drink.
He's worse for drink.
Tak a swatch o this.
Take a critical look at this.
Can ye mynd o wha't wis?
Can you remember who it was?
He wisna blythe o wir meetin John.
He wasn't pleased with our meeting John.
The bairns is awfu crouse o the Yuil.
The children are exited over Christmas.
Gie's a lend o yer beuk.
Lend me your book.
A'm bored o this beuk.
I'm bored with this book.
We canna mak a better o't A daursay.
I suppose we can't improve on it.
Nane the better o yer speirin.
None the better for your asking.
Thare's a queer thing o that lassie.
There's a strange thing about that girl.
Efter aw thon ettle ye'd be better o a rest.
After all that endeavour you'd be better for a rest.

Uses of tae and til.

A telt her tae dae that.
I told her to do that.
A telt her tae dicht the bink.
I told her to wipe the shelf.
Ma mither shewed it tae me.
My mother sewed it for me.
Leuk tae thon bonnie pictur.
Look at that pretty picture.
Ma faither's a jyner til his tred.
My father is a joiner by trade.
She haed a bairn tae ma cuisin.
She had a baby by my cousin.
She wis dochter tae the Shirra.
She was the Sheriff's daughter.
Dauvit wrocht tae Mr Gourlay.
David worked for Mr Gourlay.
Quate wi ye, an hear til the laverock!
Be quiet, and listen to the lark!
A maun leuk gin thare's a bit post tae him.
I must check if there's any mail for him.
A'm gaun tae hae a wheen fried eggs tae ma tea.
I'm going to have a few fried eggs for dinner.

Uses of wi.

A didna speak wi him.
I didn't speak to him.
He cam wi a fremmit chield.
He came with a strange fellow.
The aits wis etten wi the mice.
The oats were eaten by the mice.
She'll gang wi the bus.
She'll go by bus.
It wis thair weans that gat battert wi some ither weans.
It was their children who got battered by some other children.
She wis rin ower wi a bus forenent the hoose.
She was run over by a bus in front of her house.
We misst the bus wi sleepin in.
We missed the bus because we overslept.
She wis gey pitten on wi the wey ye dresst.
She was impressed by the way you dressed.
The wind's sae snell ye coud dee wi cauld.
The wind is so severe you could die of cold.
The bairn coudna get sleepit wi the lichtnin.
The child couldn't sleep owing to the lightning.
The polis wis set on wi a muckle dug.
The policeman was attacked by a large dog.
She's gaun tae mairy wi ma brither.
She's going to marry my brother.
A wrocht wi him fower year.
I worked for him for four years.
Ye're aither awthing or naething wi him.
You're either everything or nothing to him.
Tak tent nou - dinna faw wi bairn!
Take care now - don't get pregnant!

Prepositions in colloquial speech.

The forms o the, in the, at the and on the are often shortened to ee. Tae the is often shortened to t'ee. Wi the is often shortened to w'ee. By the is often shortened to b'ee and tae shortened to 'ae.

The heid ee toun.
The highest part of town.
At the back ee kirk.
At the back of the church.
Ee gloamin.
In the twilight.
Ee morn.
In the morning.
Ee muckle hoose.
In the big house.
Twice ee day.
Twice a (in the) day.
Ee back end ee year.
At the end of the year.
 
A haena been ee toun yet.
I haven't been into town yet.
Thay wis rowin ee fluir.
They were rolling on the floor.
A skelp ee lug.
A slap on the ear.
Ee conter.
On the contrary.
He bides ee ither side o Crief.
He stays on the other side of Crief.
It fell oot his haund ee fluir.
It fell out of his hand on to the floor.
He wis in t'ee craig.
He was up to the neck (in it).
Tae sowp w'ee deil.
To drink with the devil.
A'm no gaun'ae dae't.
I'm not going to do it.
A'm gaun'ae gie ye something.
I'm going to give you something.
Ye hae the wrang sou b'ee lug.
You have the wrong pig by the ear.
A'm gaun awa t'ee wall for watter.
I'm going along to the well for water.

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