Both Saber and Conocer are translated into English with the verb "to Know." But they each represent two entirely different types of "knowing":
- Conocer means "to be familiar with, to be acquainted with" people, places and general concepts.
- Saber means "to know a fact, information, data; to know how to do a skill".
Saber and Conocer cover different concepts and types of "knowing", and there is no crossing over the solid line between them. Let's look at each verb individually.
- We use Saber to express or describe what we know "how to do" by following it with an infinitive. Only Saber can be followed by an infinitive.
- We use Saber only when talking about facts and information. We can use to it explain that we know the "what-when-how-why-who"s of situations and events.
- Only Saber can be followed with que, qué, donde, dónde, si, cuándo [that, what?, where, where?, if, when?...] etc. These are words that introduce facts.
|Yo sé montar a caballo.||I know how to horseback ride.|
|Jessica sabe bailar la salsa muy bien.||Jessica knows how to dance the salsa very well.|
|Vershara sabe jugar al golf, dibujar y pintar.||Vershara knows how to play golf, draw and paint.|
|Ustedes saben hablar español.||You all know how to speak Spanish.|
|Rochelle sabe si hay una fiesta el viernes.||Rochelle knows if there is a party on Friday.|
|Yo sé que la tienda está cerrada.||I know (that) the store is closed.|
|Brian y Nicole saben donde están las clases aeróbicas.||Brian and Nicole know where the aerobics classes are.|
|Anisa, Dan y yo sabemos que hay un examen hoy.||Anisa, Dan and I know there is a test today.|
|Ellos saben cuándo es el concierto.||They know when the concert is.|
|Sabes el nombre de la mujer.||You know the woman's name.|
|Mauricio sabe de béisbol||Mauricio knows a lot about baseball (knows baseball rules & stuff)|
Don't forget that Saber has an irregular Yo form: Sé
- We use Conocer when we talk about someone we know or places we are familiar with. When we talk about "knowing" a person, we have to remember to use the Personal "a".
|Conozco a Rosa María.||I know Rosa María.|
|¿Conoces al novio de Rosa María?||Do you know Rosa María's fiancé?|
|Conoces bien San Francisco.||You know San Francisco really well.|
|Nick conoce un restaurante italiano buenísimo.||Nick knows an excellent Italian restaurant.|
We also use Conocer to talk about general concepts or subjects:
- Conozco la poesía del Siglo de Oro.
- I'm familiar with Golden Age Poetry.
- Ella quiere conocer tu país
- She wants to visit (become familiar with) your country
- Conocíamos sus actividades.
- We were aware of (knew about) his activities.