Saber vs Conocer

Saber vs conocer
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Knowing Spanish Verbs

Do you know how to say "know" in Spanish? There are two verbs with distinct meanings, used in completely different situations. And just to keep things interesting, they sometimes have different meanings in different tenses. Confused? After you read this lesson, you’ll know all you need to know.


Saber means "to know a fact" or "to know how to do something." It is often followed by an infinitive or a subordinate clause.

Por ejemplo…

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:"

Por ejemplo…

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.

Por ejemplo…

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.

Por ejemplo…

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."

Por ejemplo…

Juan conoció a su novia en Costa Rica.   Juan met his girlfriend in Costa Rica.
Conocí a Carlos el año pasado.   I met Carlos last year.

Spanish quizzes Saber vs conocer Quizzes

Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on saber vs conocer:

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 Related lessons

Learn French En français

Learn Italian In italiano

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Conocer vs saber

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