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The verbs “to know,” in Spanish

to know, Saber, Conocer

The verb “to know” in English is represented by the verbs saber and conocer in Spanish. While they both mean “to know,” they have very distinct purposes. Saber indicates “to know information” while conocer indicates “to be familiar with a person, place, or thing.” Let’s look at the present-tense of these two verbs:

Saber

sabemos
sabes
sabe saben

Conocer

conozco conocemos
conoces
conoce conocen

Lets take a look at some of the uses for each verb.

Saber: knowing information
When working with facts and information, we use saber.

Yo sé tu nombre.
Sabemos la respuesta.
Ellos no saben dónde está ella.
I know your name.
We know the answer.
They don’t know where she is.



Saber que… to know that…
In English, we can say “we know that you are here” or “we know you are here.” In Spanish, we need to include the conjunction que, followed by the rest of the sentence.

Yo sé que tú tienes sed.
Sabes que no puedo venir.
Sabemos que ella es alta.
I know that you are thirsty.
You know that I can’t come.
We know that she is tall.



Saber + Infinitive: To know how to do something
As we express that we know how to do something, we simply use the verb saber with an infinitive verb. Though we say ‘to know how’ in English, we don’t have to use ‘cómo’ in Spanish.

Él sabe leer.
Yo no sé cocinar.
Ellos saben bailar la bamba.
He knows how to read.
I don’t know how to cook.
They know how to dance la bamba.



Conocer + a: knowing a person
When talking about knowing someone, we use conocer with the ‘personal a,’ except when using conocer with the object as a pronoun.

Ellos conocen a María.
la conoces.
Yo no conozco a tu amigo.
Él no lo conoce.
Conocemos a José.
Ustedes los conocen.
They know María.
You know her.
I don’t know your friend.
He doesn’t know him.
We know Jose.
You guys know them.



Conocer + noun: to be familiar with something, somewhere
We can use conocer with nouns to show familiarity. We can use this method whether it’s knowing a place, being well-versed in an area, or being familiar with a thing.

Juan conoce México.
El cocinero conoce la cocina.
El papa conoce la biblia bien.
Yo no conozco Italia.
Juan is familiar with Mexico.
The chef knows the kitchen.
The pope knows the bible well.
I haven’t been to Italy.



Practice writing your own sentences.