Saber vs Conocer

Category: Verbs

Saber vs conocer 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.

 

Most Common Spanish Verbs

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