Today we speak about the two Spanish verbs: Saber and conocer. Although their meaning can be quite similar, the two verbs are not interchangeable. El Rincón del Tándem Spanish school provides here a short explanation to help you use them correctly. Enjoy your reading!
As we already learned in the past, there are Spanish verbs that, despite being completely different in sound and form, can have quite similar meaning.
In this case, it is quite common among Spanish students to face some challenges when it comes with choosing one or another, especially in when their native languages have only one verb to express both ideas.
The two Spanish verbs saber and conocer belong to this group of verbs. So, there are differences in meaning you should know in order to be able to use them correctly while speaking and writing in Spanish.
Let’s see them together!
Conocer means “be acquainted with someone or be familiar with an idea, a thing or a place”. In many cases we find it translated in English with the verb “to know”.
María conoce a tu hermana desde hace dos años = Maria has known your sister two years
He ido varias veces a Berlín; conozco muy bien la ciudad = I have been to Berlin many times; I know the city very well
Conoces las teorías de Kant? = Are you familiar with Kant’s theories?
As you see from the first example, we have to place the preposition A before the person we know. This rule does not apply to places, concepts and objects (also to people).
In English, the verb saber can be also translated “to know”, in most cases followed by preposition or infinitive. However, this Spanish verb can acquire several nuances according to the context and the way we use it in a sentence.
Find below its several meanings:
1. Saber can express “knowledge”.
Pide a Julia de ayudarte con la traducción; ella sabe ruso e inglés = Ask Julia to help you with the translation; she knows Russian and English
Andrea sabe mucho de electricidad = Andreas knows a lot about electricity
Paco sabe cómo funciona la nueva fotocopiadora = Paco knows how the new photocopier works
2. Saber can also mean “to know how to do something” or “to be able to do something”. In this case it expresses ability and skills and the usual structure is SABER + INFINITIVE.
Mi hija sabe tocar la guitarra clásica = My daughter can play classic guitar / knows how to play classic guitar
Mi tía sabe bailar salsa = My aunt can dance salsa / knows how to dance salsa
3. Saber is also used to give/ask for a piece of information or to express knowledge about facts and events.
¿Sabes dónde está la estación de trenes? = Do you know where the train station is?
No sé a qué hora comienza el concierto = I don’t know what time the concert starts
No sabía que habías vuelto de la India = I didn’t know that you came back from India
Lastly, in order to avoid mistakes when using these Spanish verbs, remember that:
> Conocer refers to places, people, ideas and objects
> Saber refers to knowledge of facts, events and skills (how to do something).
We hope this post help you how to use correctly Spanish verbs Saber and conocer.
As usual we encourage you to keep working on your Spanish, enriching your vocabulary with new Spanish words and verbs.
We also remind you that El Rincón del Tándem Spanish school awaits you in Valencia with many (online and in-person) Spanish courses.
Get in contact with us to know more!
Till the next blog 🙂