Conocer vs Saber

Common Mistakes in Spanish

The verbs Conocer and Saber in Spanish frequently confuse English speakers since they both mean To Know. However, these verbs are NOT interchangeable since they have different meanings and are used depending on the context.

When to use Conocer

A) Conocer is used with knowing people or having an acquaintance with them. It means you are familiar with someone.

Note that the preposition 'a' is used when conocer is followed by a person (it's a direct object).

B) Conocer is also for saying you have been to, visited or have knowledge about a place.

C) Conocer can also mean to meet (for the first time).

D) Conocer can be used in the negative to show that you don't know someone or haven't been somewhere.

When to use Saber

A) Saber is also used when you know facts about certain information.

B) You will often see the verb Saber followed by que, qué, quién, dónde, cuándo, cuál, por qué.

C) Saber is used with abilities and skills that are learnt like Conducir (to drive), pintar (to paint) etc. To say you know how to do something, you use Saber + Infinitive.

D) Saber can also be used in the negative to show that you don't know something or are ignorant about something.

Conocer vs. Saber


In Summary

Basically the difference can be summarized as:

Conocer: To be familiar with (or met) a Person or visited a Place

Saber: To know a fact or information. To have the ability to do things (skills).

Next Activities

See the complete conjugation of the verbs Saber and Conocer with examples in each tense.

Try our interactive game online to practice the difference: Conocer vs. Saber Game

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