Spanish Verbs “To Know”
Saber and conocer can both be translated by the English verb “to know,” but they are used in completely different situations.
Saber means to know a fact or to know how to do something. It is often followed by an infinitive or a subordinate clause.
|No sé la respuesta.||I don’t know the answer.|
|¿Sabéis francés?||Do you know French?|
|Sabemos cocinar.||We know how to cook.|
In the pretérito, saber means to learn or to find out:
|Supe el secreto ayer.||I learned/found out the secret yesterday.|
|Ya supo.||He already found out.|
Conocer means to know someone or to be familiar with someone, something, or somewhere. It can only be followed by a direct object, never by an infinitive or a subordinate clause.
|No conocen la obra de Cervantes.||They’re not familiar with Cervantes’ work.|
|¿Ud. conoce Barcelona?||Are you familiar with Barcelona?|
Remember that if the direct object is a person, the personal preposition a must be used.
|Conozco a tu padre.||I know your father.|
|No cononce a mis amigos.||He doesn’t know my friends.|
In the pretérito, conocer means to meet someone for the first time.
|Juan conoció a su novia en Costa Rica.||Juan met his girlfriend in Costa Rica.|
|Conocí a Carlos el año pasado.||I meet Carlos last year.|
Saber vs conocer
Now that you know how to know, take the Test on saber vs cononcer.