“Saber” vs. “Conocer” in Spanish – Learn and Practice

Welcome to our grammar lesson on how to choose between the verbs saber and conocer in Spanish.

These 2 verbs have to do with knowledge, but in different ways.

One sentence with "saber" and one with "conocer" in Spanish
One sentence with “saber” and one with “conocer”

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to choose between “saber” and “conocer” in sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice. Let’s do it!

Conjugations in Present Tense

Before we explain the difference between “saber” and “conocer”, let’s review their conjugations in Present Tense:

 saberconocer
yoconozco
sabesconoces
élsabeconoce
nosotrossabemosconocemos
vosotrossabéisconocéis
ellossabenconocen

“saber” vs “conocer”: their meanings

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

We can use this as a guide to choose the right verb in sentences:

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



Let’s study each verb separately, and read example sentences with their different meanings:

saber

Meanings of saber:

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

Examples:

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

¿Vosotros sabéis qué pasó?
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

Meanings of conocer:

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

Examples:

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

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

¿Tú 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 mujer muy simpática.
This week I’ve met a very nice woman. (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 “saber” or “conocer”, and either one is OK.

It makes sense, because sometimes “having an information” is similar to “being familiar with something”.

Examples:

Yo la verdad.
Yo 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 Quiz to test your knowledge about “saber” vs. “conocer”:


Exercise 1

Complete the conjugations of “saber” and “conocer” in Present Tense with the missing forms. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions:

 saberconocer
yoconozco
sabesconoces
élsabeconoce
nosotrossabemosconocemos
vosotrossabéisconocéis
ellossabenconocen

Exercise 2

Now we are going to practice “saber” vs “conocer” in sentences.

Fill the gaps choosing between “saber” and “conocer”:

1) Ana sabe bailar flamenco.
Ana can dance flamenco.

2) No conozco este pueblo.
I don’t know this town.

3) Mis amigos te conocen .
My friends know you.

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

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

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

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