In Spanish the verbs 'saber' and 'conocer' mean 'to know'. This blog will explain when you should use the different verbs.
Conjugating the verbs 'saber' and 'conocer' in present tense:
|Él/Ella/Usted||Sabe||Conoce||He/She/You (singular formal) knows|
|Vosotros||Sabéis||Conocéis||You (plural) know|
|Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes||Saben||Conocen||They/ You (formal plural) know|
General rules for use of 'saber' and 'conocer':
Saber - To know information/facts and to know skills.
Conocer - To know or be familiar with a person, place, thing or idea.
When to use the verb 'saber':
- Dealing with facts and information.
¿Sabes dónde está la gasolinera? - Do you know where the gas station is?
- To know how to do something.
Add the infinitive immediately after the conjugated form of 'saber.' Do not add 'cómo' which means 'how.'
Yo sé hablar español. - I know how to speak Spanish.
- To know that...
In English you can say 'I know that he is French' or 'I know he is French.' Whereas in Spanish 'que' (that) is always added - Yo sé que él es francés.
Sabemos que están en Guatemala. - We know (that) they are in Guatemala.
When to use the verb 'conocer':
- To be acquainted with a person.
When talking about knowing another person use the personal 'a' immediately after the conjugated form of 'conocer'. However, do not use 'a' when using an object pronoun.
Yo conozco a Juanita. - I know Juanita
- To be familiar with a place.
Él conoce Guatemala. - He knows Guatemala.
- To be well versed in an area.
If you have a knowledge about a particular field use the verb 'conocer'.
Ellos conocen los libros de Shakespeare. - They know about Shakespeare books.
Using the verb 'conocer' for 'to meet' in Spanish:
When you meet/going to meet someone for the first time use the verb 'conocer'.
Yo conocí al presidente. - I met the president.
Luisa va a conocer a sus futuros suegros. - Luisa is going to meet her future parents-in-law.
Note: If you are meeting someone who you know or have met before use the verb 'encontrar'.
Some uses of 'saber' and 'conocer' in idiomatic phrases:
Conocer de vista. - To know by sight.
Dar a conocer. - To make it known.
Darse a conocer. - To make oneself known.
No se sabe. - Nobody knows.
¿Quién sabe? - Who knows?
Que yo sepa. - As far as I know.
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