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Learning Spanish in Chicago - Verbs Saber vs Conocer?

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The verb “to know”, translated to Spanish has a different meaning depending on the context in which it is being used. The verbs “Saber” and “Conocer” are not interchangeable so learning about them is very important.

In this post you will learn how to identify them and use them properly.

These two verbs are introduced to Spanish learners together since they are both used to express the idea “to know”.

Fortunately, these verbs have a defined role in the Spanish language so learning them is not difficult.

Learning Spanish in Chicago: Saber vs. Conocer. General rules.
When to use “SABER”:

This verb is used to talk about:

• Facts
• Information
• Learned Skills or how to do something.

When you ‘know’ about things such as scientific facts, events, or general trivia, you will use “saber”.

“Saber” translates to “to know”.

Before we get to some examples we are going to give a quick look at the conjugation of this verb since it is regular, except in the first tense.

In the following table we can see that in past tense “Saber” is irregular.

Now that we have covered the basics, we can start with some examples.

“To know” - Facts.

Yo sé que tú tienes las llaves del carro.
I know you have the keys to the car.

¿Sabes dónde está ubicada la Torre Eiffel?
Do you know where the Eiffel Tower is located?

¿Sabían que según el American Kennel club, hay 192 especies de perro?
Did you know that according to the American Kennel Club, there are 192 breeds of dogs?

“To know”- information.
¿Sabes cuándo es el día del examen?
Do you know what date is the test?

Él supo que su personaje favorito muere al final del libro.
He knew that his favorite character dies at the end of the book.

Learned Skills or how to do something
The general rule in this case is to use the verb Saber+infinitive.

Juan sabe esculpir obras de arte maravillosas.
Juan knows how to sculpt wonderful artworks.

One common mistake is when translating, I know “how”, to Yo sé “como”. In the verb “sé” it is implied that the person knows “how”.


I know how to cook seafood.
Yo sé cocinar mariscos.

He doesn't know how to skate.
Él no sabe patinar.

Using the verb “CONOCER”

This verb is used when we want to express familiarity or an acquaintance and is used when we are talking about a person, place or thing.

Let’s start by learning the conjugated verb of “Conocer" in Present Tense.

As in the verb “Saber”, “Conocer” has an irregular first person in the present tense. But in the past tense it is regular.

Use of “Conocer”when referring to a Person.

There is a special rule you must know when using the “conocer” verb and referring to a person. In this case you should always use the preposition “a”.
Yo conozco a Julio./ I have met Julio.

No he conocido a tu esposa aún. / I haven't met your wife yet.

Use of “Conocer” when talking about places.

You can observe the difference when talking about a place we don't use the preposition “a”.

Yo conozco el Gran Cañón. /I know the Grand Canyon.
El conoce el parque bastante bien. / He knows the park pretty well.

Use of “Conocer” when talking about things.

No conozco el último teléfono de iPhone.
I am not familiar with the latest iPhone.
Reciprocal Sentences: Learning Spanish in Chicago

In these types of sentences the use of “Conocer” refers to two people meeting each other.

Nos conocimos después del concierto. / We met after the concert.

¿Como se conocen?/ How did you meet?

Now it is your turn to start practicing! Start Learning Spanish in Chicago at LaL Center, today.

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