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3.6: Saber y conocer

  • Page ID
    75216
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    Verbs "saber" and "conocer" (to know)

    Conjugation

    In the present tense, both "saber" and "conocer" have an irregular conjugation in the "yo" form. The rest of the verb is conjugated as a regular verb. The irregular conjugations of these verbs and their corresponding subject pronoun are noted in blue in the chart below.

    Subject Pronoun Saber Conocer
    yo conozco
    sabes conoces
    usted, él/ella sabe conoce
    nosotros/as sabemos conocemos
    vosotros/as sabéis conocéis
    ustedes, ellos/ellas saben conocen

    Observations

    • In Spanish, "to know" can translate to both "saber" and "conocer" and they are not interchangeable. Knowing which verb to choose depends on what it is that you "know".
    • To avoid confusion with "saber" and "conocer", change the way you think about the translation of these verbs as follows:

    English: To know = Español: saber

    English: To meet, have been to, to be familiar with = Español: conocer

    • If can you replace the word "know" in an English sentence with "to meet", "to have been to", or "to be familiar with", use "conocer".

    Saber: facts, information, how to do something.

    • If you "know" about something or about someone that actually exists; or something concrete used as a basis for further interpretation (truth), use "saber + que" since it is a fact. Example: Ella sabe que Paris está en Francia.
    • If you "know" information about something that someone did (an invention, an event), use "saber + que" since it is now a piece of information. Example: Tú sabes que la fiesta es por la noche.
    • If you "know" that someone knows how to do something (an action) --> "saber + [infinitive]", use "saber" since it is a skill. Example: Yo sé tocar la guitarra.

    Conocer: people, places, things.

    • If you "know" a person (a friend or someone famous), use "conocer" since it means "to be familiar with" that person. Example: Conozco a mi mejor amigo muy bien.
    • If you "know" a person by having met them, use "conocer" since it means "to meet" someone. Example: Conocí a un artista ayer. ("Conocí" is conjugated in past tense: I met.)
    • If you "know" a place by having visited and experienced it (a store, a city, a state, or a country), use "conocer" since it means "to have been to" that location. Example: Conozco mi universidad.
    • If you "know" a particular thing by experiencing it (music, someone's writing, a play, a movie), use "conocer" since it means 'to have experienced' it. Example: Conozco la tragedia Romeo y Julieta.

    Other verbs conjugated like "conocer"

    The following verbs are conjugated irregularly in the "yo" form like the verb "conocer". Note that their irregular conjugations are noted in blue.

    subject pronoun agradecer (to thank) ofrecer (to offer) parecer (to seem) conducir (to drive) traducir (to translate)
    yo agradezco ofrezco parezco conduzco traduzco
    agradeces ofreces pareces conduces traduces
    usted, él, ella agradece ofrece parece conduce traduce
    nosotros, nosotras agradecemos ofrecemos parecemos conducimos traducimos
    vosotros, vosotras agradecéis ofrecéis parecéis conducís traducís
    ustedes, ellos, ellas agradecen ofrecen parecen conducen traducen

    This page titled 3.6: Saber y conocer is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by M. Barrio De Mendoza, K Gutiérrez, H.Ho, C. Lin, & A Stere Lugo (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .