A Guide on the Spanish Verbs “Saber” and “Conocer”

Learn the difference between "saber" and "conocer" in Spanish.

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Learning Spanish can be an exciting journey, and one of the fundamental aspects of the language is understanding the correct usage of verbs. Understanding the difference between the Spanish verbs saber and conocer is vital for English speakers learning the language. Although both verbs translate into English as 'to know', they have different meanings and uses.

In this article, we will explore the differences between these verbs and provide a comprehensive guide for Spanish learners.

Master using the Spanish verb “saber” like a real pro!

spanish saber conocer

With Busuu, learning to use “sabes”, which is the conjugated form of the verb “saber” (to know) in your day-to-day conversations is a breeze! Try our free online courses and get confident in speaking Spanish in no time!

Understanding the differences between saber and conocer

When learning Spanish, it is crucial to distinguish between saber and conocer as they both translate to “to know” in English but they have different meanings and uses.

A simple way to differentiate between them is by keeping the following in mind:

  1. Use "saber" to express knowledge of facts, information, or how to do something.
  • Facts: "Sé que el sol es una estrella." (I know that the sun is a star.)

  • Skills or abilities: "Sabes tocar la guitarra." (You can play the guitar.)

  • How to do something: "Sabemos cocinar paella." (We can cook paella.)

  1. Use "conocer" when expressing familiarity or personal acquaintance.
  • People: "Conoce a María." (He has met María before.)

  • Places: "¿Conocéis Barcelona?" (Have you all been to Barcelona?)

  • Things: "Conozco este libro." (I am familiar with this book.)

How to use these verbs effectively

To use the verbs saber and conocer effectively, it’s essential to understand their conjugation in the three basic tenses: presente (present simple), pretérito perfecto simple (past perfect simple) and futuro (future.)


Subject Saber Conocer
Yo Conozco
Sabes Conoces
Él / Ella / Usted Sabe Conoce
Nosotros / Nosotras Sabemos Conocemos
Vosotros / Vosotras Sabéis Conocéis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Saben Conocen

Be an expert in using the Spanish verb “conocer”!

spanish saber conocer

Now you know that "conoce" (a form of the verb “conocer”) implies a personal acquaintance or familiarity with the person being discussed, put everything into practice with support from Busuu’s online courses and a worldwide network of Spanish speakers.

Pretérito perfecto simple

Person Saber Conocer
Yo Supe Conocí
Supiste Conociste
Él / Ella / Usted Supo Conoció
Nosotros / Nosotras Supimo Conocimos
Vosotros / Vosotras Supisteis Conocisteis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Supieron Conocieron


Person Saber Conocer
Yo Sabré Conoceré
Sabrás Conocerás
Él / Ella / Usted Sabrá Conocerá
Nosotros / Nosotras Sabremos Conoceremos
Vosotros / Vosotras Sabréis Conoceréis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Sabrán Conocerán

Understanding the differences between the Spanish verbs saber and conocer is vital for basic-level Spanish learners. Knowing when to use each verb can enhance your communication skills and prevent confusion.

By mastering their meanings, usage, and conjugation in the present simple, past, and future tenses, you will be better equipped to express yourself accurately in Spanish.

Keep practicing and exploring additional resources to strengthen your understanding and fluency in this beautiful language.

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