Saber vs Conocer

Spanish Verbs to Know

Saber vs conocerSaber 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.

Spanish quizzes Saber vs conocer Quizzes

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