Irregular Spanish Verbs Saber and Conocer: Present Tense

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  • 0:03 Saber & Conocer
  • 3:16 Conjugate Saber & Conocer
  • 5:49 Review Exercise
  • 7:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chris Travis

Chris has a Ph.D in Hispanic Literature.

This lesson introduces the present tense conjugations of the irregular verbs saber and conocer. It also discusses the different usages of these two Spanish verbs, which can both be translated as 'to know.'

How to Use the Verbs Saber and Conocer

Hola, ¡buenos días! ?Usted sabe mucho español? ?Usted sabe un poco de español? Hoy vamos a aprender sobre los verbos saber y conocery usted va a saber mucho más.

The verb saber is one of the two ways to say 'to know' in Spanish. It is used to express knowledge of facts, certain bits of information, or how to do something, a capability. What about who, what, where, when, why, and how? These are the interrogatives, but they also are used to express information: when is the party, who is that man, where the restaurant is. With these expressions, quién, qué, dónde, cuándo, por qué, and cómo, we will use saber. Juan sabe dónde está el restaurante. ¡Nosotros sabemos que el español es divertido!

Ahora vas a conocer a Mario. Él conoce a Antonio, conoce a Sara, y conoce a Lucas, pero no conoce a Adriana. Mario también conoce muy bien las novelas de Ernest Hemingway, porque es profesor de literatura norteamericana.

The verb conocer is the other way to say 'to know' in Spanish. It is used to express being familiar or acquainted with people, places, or things. Using conocer, we might express familiarity with a town, knowledge of a novel or movie, and certainly that someone knows an acquaintance. If one knows a certain person, we must use the personal 'a' before the name of the person. That is why we say Antonio conoce a Sara and not just Antonio conoce Sara. So, what would we use in the following examples?

  • I know you: conocer
  • I know that you are smart: saber
  • I know when he moved here: saber
  • I know that movie: conocer
  • She knows my name: saber (it is the information, not the direct acquaintance)
  • We know that restaurant: conocer
  • We know the restaurant owner: conocer
  • We know that the restaurant owner is greedy: saber

How to Conjugate Saber and Conocer

Ya hemos visto algunas de las conjugaciones. Los dos verbos son irregulares en la forma de yo. In the present tense, the verbs are only irregular in the yo form. El verbo saber:

yo sé nosotros sabemos
tú sabes vosotros sabéis
él/ella/usted sabe ellos/ellas/ustedes saben

Muy bien.

Vamos a Practicar

Help me out with these sentences:

  • He knows how to write in Italian: Él sabe escribir en italiano.
  • She knows that tomorrow is not Tuesday: Ella sabe que mañana no es martes.
  • I know when the party starts: Yo sé cuándo empieza la fiesta.

Y ahora vamos a estudiar las conjugaciones del verbo conocer:

yo conozco nosotros conocemos
tú conoces vosotros conocéis
él/ella/usted conoce ellos/ellas/ustedes conocen

Vamos a Practicar

Ayúdame con estas frases por favor. Help me with these translations:

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