April 26, 2024 · , ,

Saber and Conocer Explained: The How, Why, When, and Where Guide



Saber vs Conocer – How and When to Use Them

Have you ever done a Google translate for Saber and Conocer? It’s funny because they both translate into “TO KNOW”. So, the big question is… How do you know which verb to use and in what situation?

Well, as it turns out, it is not that complicated. While both verbs translate to “to know” in English, they are used in different contexts and convey distinct meanings in Spanish. Knowing when to use each one can make a big difference in your communication skills when speaking with native Spanish speakers. In this blog post, we will dive into the nuances between saber and conocer and provide you with some helpful tips to distinguish between them.

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Below we have put together a simple summary to outline the differences so we can better understand when to use “SABER Y CONOCER”.

When to use SABERWhen to use CONOCER
MeaningTo know a fact or piece of informationTo be familiar with, to have met or experienced
ExampleI know how to play the guitar.I know Maria, we met last year.
ContextFacts, skills, and information.People, places, and things.
ExampleShe knows how to speak French fluently.He knows New York City like the back of his hand.
ContextAcademic knowledge or expertise.Familiarity with a place or thing.
ExampleThey know the answer to the math problem.She knows the restaurant well, having dined there many times.
ContextKnowing information or having a skill.Familiarity with a person or place.

FAQs about “saber” and “conocer”

  1. What is the main difference between “saber” and “conocer”?
    • “Saber” is used to express knowledge of facts or information and how to do something, whereas “conocer” is used to express familiarity with people, places, or things.
  2. When should I use “saber”?
    • Use “saber” when referring to knowing facts, learned skills, or information. For example, knowing a fact, a piece of information, or how to do something.
  3. When should I use “conocer”?
    • Use “conocer” when you mean to be acquainted with or familiar with a person, place, or thing. It’s about familiarity rather than skill or factual knowledge.
  4. Can you give examples of sentences using “saber”?
    • “Yo sé hablar español.” (I know how to speak Spanish.)
    • “Ella sabe la respuesta.” (She knows the answer.)
  5. Can you give examples of sentences using “conocer”?
    • “Conozco a María.” (I know Maria.)
    • “Conocemos París muy bien.” (We know Paris very well.)
  6. How does the use of “saber” and “conocer” change with different tenses?
    • The use doesn’t change fundamentally across tenses but adapts to the tense of the verb. For example, in the past tense, “sabía” means “I knew,” and “conocía” means “I was acquainted with.”
  7. Are there any exceptions or special cases when using “saber” and “conocer”?
    • Yes, in some contexts, “saber” can mean “to hear about” or “to find out,” especially when used in the preterite tense (e.g., “supe la noticia”).
  8. What are the conjugations for “saber” and “conocer” in the present tense?
    • Saber: yo sé, tú sabes, él/ella sabe, nosotros sabemos, vosotros sabéis, ellos saben.
    • Conocer: yo conozco, tú conoces, él/ella conoce, nosotros conocemos, vosotros conocéis, ellos conocen.
  9. How do “saber” and “conocer” function in questions?
    • They are used to ask about knowledge or familiarity. For example, “¿Sabes quién es él?” (Do you know who he is?) or “¿Conoces algún restaurante bueno aquí?” (Do you know any good restaurant here?)
  10. Can “saber” and “conocer” be used interchangeably in any context?
    • No, “saber” and “conocer” are not interchangeable as they refer to different types of knowledge and familiarity.

Quick guide to conjugate SABER Y CONOCER in Present Indicative

Él / EllaSabeConoce

Let’s look at Some Examples of Saber and Conocer:


  • Yo que el agua es H2O. (to know a fact)
  • Todos los padres saben los cumpleaños de sus hijos. (to have knowledge of an information)
  • ¿Sabés cómo hacer chocotorta? (to know how to do something/to have a skill)
  • A Manuel le gusta mucho la música de los 80’s, sabe cantar casi todas las canciones. (to know something by heart/memory)


  • Mi tía conoce muy bien a mi vecina porque fueron a colegio juntas. (to be familiar/acquainted with a person)
  • Es increíble todos los paises que conocés. (to be familiar/acquainted with a place)
  • El doctor conoce muy bien el cuerpo humano. (to be familiar/acquainted with a thing)
  • Fue un placer conocerte. (use as “to meet”, when meeting someone for the first time)

A few slightly more complicated by combining them both:

  • Mi padre nunca conoció a su padre porque él abandonó a la familia cuando era un bebé. Por eso, jura que nunca quiso saber nada sobre su padre.
  • “¿Conocés la banda The Beatles?” “¡Obvio! Me encanta The Beatles. tocar sus canciones en el piano.”
  • Julieta sabe mucho sobre la historia de Inglaterra porque tiene un master en historia europea, pero no tiene plata para viajar y conocer el país personalmente.


Now, it’s your turn to put your knowledge to the test — ¿Saber o Conocer? Conjugate accordingly, answer key at the very end. Good luck!!

  1. ¿________ tú hablar italiano? (sabes/ conoces)
  2. Yo no ________ a nadie en esta ciudad. (sé / conozco)
  3. Él ________ muchas cosas interesantes. (sabe / conoce)
  4. ¿________ tú la canción que está sonando? (sabes / conoces)
  5. Nosotros ________ la ciudad muy bien. (sabemos / conocemos)
  6. ¿________ tú a Juan? (sabes / conoces)
  7. Ellos ________ el camino hacia la playa. (saben / conocen)
  8. Yo ________ que hoy es miércoles. (sé / conozco)
  9. ¿________ ustedes a la profesora de español? (saben / conocen)
  10. Nosotros no ________ cómo solucionar este problema. (sabemos / conocemos)

Correct answer options:

  1. Sabes
  2. Conozco
  3. Sabe
  4. Sabes
  5. Conocemos
  6. Conoces
  7. Conocen
  8. Conocen
  9. Sabemos

Saber and Conocer Verbs in Spanish: 20 Real-Life Examples

Saber – Present TenseConocer – Present Tense
Yo sé tocar el piano. (I know how to play the piano.)Conozco a Juan desde la infancia. (I’ve known Juan since childhood.)
Él sabe mucho sobre la historia de su país. (He knows a lot about the history of his country.)Conocemos a la dueña del restaurante. (We know the owner of the restaurant.)
¿Sabes cocinar paella? (Do you know how to cook paella?)Conocen bien la ciudad. (They know the city well.)
Mi hermana sabe hablar francés. (My sister knows how to speak French.)No conocemos a los vecinos nuevos. (We don’t know the new neighbors.)
¿Sabéis cuándo empieza la película? (Do you guys know when the movie starts?)Conozco a alguien que trabaja en esa empresa. (I know someone who works for that company.)

Saber and Conocer Past tesnse

SaberEnglish TranslationConocerEnglish Translation
Ayer supe que me aceptaron en la universidad.Yesterday, I found out that I got accepted into university.Hace años que conozco a mi mejor amigo.I’ve known my best friend for years.
Cuando era niño supe nadar muy bien.When I was a kid, I knew how to swim very well.No conocimos a su familia hasta la boda.We didn’t meet their family until the wedding.
Hace unos meses supe que estaba embarazada.A few months ago, I found out that I was pregnant.En la universidad conocí a mucha gente interesante.In university, I met a lot of interesting people.
No supe que estaba cerrado el museo hasta llegar ahí.I didn’t know the museum was closed until I got there.Conocí a mi novia en una fiesta de cumpleaños.I met my girlfriend at a birthday party.
¿Supiste de la cancelación del concierto?Did you hear about the concert cancellation?Después de viajar tanto, conocimos varios países.After traveling a lot, we got to see many countries.

Saber and Conocer Future Tense

SaberEnglish TranslationConocerEnglish Translation
Sabré la respuesta a tu pregunta en unos minutos.I will know the answer to your question in a few minutes.Conoceremos a nuestros nuevos vecinos mañana.We will meet our new neighbors tomorrow.
Sabrás cómo cocinar este plato después de mi clase de cocina.You will know how to cook this dish after my cooking class.Conoceré al presidente de la compañía en la cena de gala.I will meet the company’s president at the gala dinner.
Sabremos si el proyecto fue aprobado el próximo mes.We will know if the project was approved next month.Conocerás muchos lugares interesantes si viajas conmigo.You will discover many interesting places if you travel with me.
Sabré si mi solicitud de empleo fue aceptada la próxima semana.I will find out if my job application was accepted next week.Conoceré a mi futuro esposo en la universidad.I will meet my future husband at university.
Sabrás si pasaste el examen mañana por la tarde.You will know if you passed the exam tomorrow afternoon.Conoceremos el museo más famoso de la ciudad el fin de semana que viene.We will visit the city’s most famous museum next weekend.

5 fun facts about the saber and conocer verbs in Spanish:

  1. Saber is used to express knowledge or information about a fact or skill, while conocer is used to express familiarity with a person, place, or thing. For example, “Sé hablar español” (I know how to speak Spanish) uses saber because it expresses knowledge, while “Conozco a María” (I know María) uses conocer because it expresses familiarity with a person.
  2. Like with ser and estar, there is a mnemonic device to help remember the differences between saber and conocer. The device is SALES and COCO. SALES stands for Skills, Abilities, Likes, Expertise, and Savvy, which are all things that use saber. COCO stands for Connections, Origins, Characteristics, and Ongoing relationships, which are all things that use conocer.
  3. One common use of saber is in the phrase “No sé” (I don’t know), which is often used to politely decline to answer a question or to express uncertainty.
  4. Conocer can be used in the reflexive form, “conocerse,” to mean “to get to know oneself” or “to become familiar with oneself.”
  5. Both saber and conocer are irregular verbs, meaning that they don’t follow the regular conjugation patterns of most other verbs in Spanish. It’s important to memorize their conjugation forms to use them correctly in conversation.
saber vs conocer how to use them

There you have it folks! Now you have practiced the difference between ‘saber’ and ‘conocer’. As you can see, it is not that complicated, but quite important to know the difference. Mastering the difference between these two very important verbs will help you improve your communication with native speakers, and you will be able to rest assured knowing that the point you are trying to convey is being understood in the proper context.

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