Spanish “Saber” vs “Conocer” – Learn to Choose and Practice!

Saber vs Conocer, Learn to Choose and Practice with Exercises

Welcome to our grammar lesson about saber vs conocer, where we will practice how to choose between these Spanish Verbs, after learning the difference.

The reason it can be a challenge for the Spanish student to choose between “saber” and “conocer”, is because both verbs have to do with knowledge. But in different ways.

In this lesson, we will learn the cases where we use “saber” and the cases where we use “conocer”, with example sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

“saber” and “conocer” in Present Tense

Before we learn their different uses, let’s review the conjugations of “saber” and “conocer” in Present Tense.

We show the conjugations in the following table:

 saberconocer
yoconozco
sabesconoces
élsabeconoce
nosotrossabemosconocemos
vosotrossabéisconocéis
ellossabenconocen

Uses of each verb

The following table shows the different meanings of “saber” and “conocer”.

We can use this table as our guide to choose the right verb:

saber:conocer:
to know, in the sense of having an informationto know, in the sense of being familiar with someone or something
can, in the sense of having a skillto meet someone for the first time


Let’s now study each verb separately, and read example sentences of their uses.

saber

We use saber as…:

  • “to know” in the sense of having an information.
  • “can” in the sense of having a skill.

Examples:

Sabemos que la Tierra es redonda.
We know the Earth is round. (We have that information).

¿Vosotros sabéis qué ha pasado?
Do you guys know what happened? (Do you have that information?)

Yo hablar español.
I can speak Spanish. (I have that skill).

Sabes cocinar.
You can cook. (You have that skill).


conocer

We use conocer as…:

  • “to know” in the sense of being familiar with someone or something.
  • to meet” someone for the first time.

Examples:

Conozco a María.
I know María. (I’m familiar with her)

Mis padres conocen Barcelona.
My parents know Barcelona. (they are familiar with it)

¿Me conoces?
Do you know me? (are you familiar with me?)

Nosotros conocemos este libro.
We know this book. (we are familiar with it).

Esta semana he conocido a una chica muy simpática.
This week I’ve met a very nice girl. (for the first time)

conociste a mis amigos el año pasado.
You met my friends last year. (for the first time)


Sometimes there is flexibility

Good news! There are sentences where we can use either “saber” or “conocer”, and both are OK.

It makes sense: sometimes we could say both that we “have an information” and that we “are familiar with it”.

A couple of examples:

la verdad.
Conozco la verdad.
Both sentences mean “I know the truth”.

Él sabe el final de la película.
Él conoce el final de la película.
Both sentences mean “He knows the ending of the movie”.

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about “saber” vs “conocer” in Spanish:

Exercise

Now we are going to practice choosing between “saber” and “conocer” in sentences.

Fill the gaps choosing between the options in brackets:

Ana ____ 1.(sabe/conoce) bailar flamenco.
Ana can dance flamenco.

No ____ 2.(sé/conozco) este pueblo.
I don’t know this town.

Mis amigos te ____ 3.(conocen/saben).
My friends know you.

Ellos ____ 4.(saben/conocen) esquiar.
They can ski (they have that ability).

Nosotros ____ 5. (sabemos/conocemos) por qué las plantas son verdes.
We know why plants are green.

Todos los días ____ 6.(sé/conozco) a gente nueva.
Every day I meet new people for the first time.

Solutions:
1) sabe
2) conozco
3) conocen
4) saben
5) both are OK but “sabemos” sounds better
6) conozco