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Spanish Verbs: saber and conocer

by CaptainCode

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May 15th, 2015

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Learning a foreign language is exciting! Soon enough, every learner understands that not everything can be translated directly and there can be double meanings, so language learners need to understand the difference in meanings of seemingly similar words.

Ser and estar (the pair of verbs that both mean ‘to be’ in Spanish) are not the only example. Do you know verbs saber and conocer? They fall into the same category and both verbs mean “to know.” Yet, they are different in a way that does not exist in English.

Saber is used in the context of knowing information, ideas or how to do something.
Conocer is used in the context of knowing a person or a place, or to be familiar with something (software, for example).

For example:

e.g., “Yo sé como cocinar.” I know how to cook.
e.g., “¿Conoces bien la ciudad?” Do you know the city well?

A few more examples:
¿Sabes tú leer música? – Do you know how to read music?
Yo sé escribir en español. – I know how to write in Spanish.
Ellos saben jugar a las cartas. – They know how to play cards.
¡No sé! – I don’t know!
Ellos conocen el sitio donde van a tener el concierto. – They know the site where they’re going to have the concert.
Conozco este modelo, como casi lo compré anteriormente. – I know this model, as I almost bought it previously.
No conozco al abuelo de Estefanía. – I don’t know Stephanie’s grandfather.

Want to learn Spanish verbs? Check out our courses:
Introductory Spanish Verbs
Advanced Spanish Verbs

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