To know in Spanish: Saber vs Conocer


Distinguish between what you know and what you are familiar with


There are two verbs in Spanish that translate “to know” in English, similar to what you have observed with our verb “to be”.  The two ways of knowing in Spanish are saber and conocer.

Play AudioSaber
Irregular in the first person singular, regular in all other forms in the present tense..
Play AudioConocer
Irregular in the first person singular, regular in all other forms in the present tense.
sabes conoces
sabe conoce
sabemos conocemos
sabéis conocéis
saben conocen

The distinction is not so difficult to remember:

Saber → to know a skill, to be aware of some information, to have knowledge about some topic.

Conocer → to know a person, to be familiar with who they are because of a previous physical encounter, or because they are well known and/or famous.  Also to know a place because you have been there.


Yo sé patinar.
(I know how to skate.)
Play AudioTú sabes hablar un poco de español. (You know how to speak a bit of Spanish.)
Play AudioNosotros sabemos a qué hora es el partido de fútbol. (We know what time the soccer game is.)
Play AudioEllos saben jugar dominó. (They know how to play dominoes.)

Play AudioYo conozco a la presidenta de la universidad personalmente.
(I know personally the president of the university.)
Play Audio¿Tú conoces la ciudad de Nueva York? (Do you know/are you familiar with the city of New York?)
Play AudioEllos conocen un lugar donde las personas que saben jugar dominó van los domingos. (They are familiar with a place where the people who know how to play dominoes go on Sundays.)


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