The difference between ‘saber’ and ‘conocer’ (to know)


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:




Yo Conozco I know
Sabes Conoces You know
Él/Ella/Usted Sabe Conoce He/She/You (singular formal) knows
Nosotros Sabemos Conocemos We know
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.’

Saber+ infinitive
Yo 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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