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Talk Like a Native: Saber vs. Conocer

by Cynthia Lopez

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 12:00 AM.

How do you say "to know" in Spanish? Well, if you know then you'll also know that there are two ways of saying "to know" in Spanish. In today's blog post learn which one is used in certain situations.

Saber and conocer both mean to know in English, but they are not interchangeable, in some situations saber must be used and in others conocer should be used. In this blog post, you'll learn exactly when to use one over the other.

Here's a tip that'll hopefully help you figure out when to use conocer. This word has the same root to the English words cognition and recognize, and they pretty much mean to be familiar with (something or someone). So when using conocer, remember you are talking about knowing a person or thing. Here are some examples of how to use conocer:
Conoces a Raquel?  = Do you know Rachel?
No conoscos esta cancion.  = I don't know this song.

Conocer can also be used when you're meeting someone for the first time and you want to say pleased to know you. In Spanish that's: Gusto en conoserte. Or you can also use conocer when referring to the time you met someone. For example: Conocí mi novio en Corea, translates to: I met my boyfriend in Korea.

Saber can be used when you know a fact, or statement. Such as to know someone's name.  ¿Sabes su nombre? Translates to: Do you know his name? Saber can also mean if something has flavor or tastes good. For example: Esta carne sabe bien. Translates to: This meat tastes good. 

Here are some more examples of when to use saber

Ya tú sabes (it's the name of our free Spanish Culture show) = You already know.

¿Sabes como llegar al aeropuerto? = Do you know how to get to the airport?

Thanks for reading and hope this blog post has helped with figuring out when to use saber and conocer. Please feel free to leave questions and comment! ¡Hasta luego!

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