Saber Conjugation: Saber, a common Spanish verb usually meaning “to know” in the sense of having knowledge, is highly irregular. Both the stem and the endings can take unexpected forms.
Saber should not be confused with conocer, which also means “to know,” but in the sense of being familiar with a person. Conocer also is conjugated irregularly Irregular forms are shown below in boldface. Pronouns are shown for convenience and clarity; they often are omitted in everyday speech and writing.
Conjugation Of Saber: Using The Verb “to know”
In a Latin-based language like Spanish, most verbs follow a regular pattern depending on their endings (i.e. -ar, -er, and -ir verbs).
However, there are also a number of irregular verbs that don’t always follow a regular conjugation pattern. These kinds of verbs are divided into the following:
- Stem-changing verbs (which change depending on how they are used in a sentence)
- Spelling-changing verbs (which have different consonants that help with pronunciation)
Then there are reflexive verbs (which show what/whom the subject of the sentence is by “reflecting” the action back on the subject). These can be both regular and irregular.
We’ll be focusing on “saber” in this article. But just to give you a heads up, there are two verbs in Spanish that mean “to know”. The other one is “conocer”. In general, “saber” refers to broader knowledge (how to do things), whereas “conocer” generally refers to knowing more specific things, like people and places.
As with many other irregular verbs, “saber” is irregular in the “yo” form of the present tense. It’s also important to note the use of the accent marks here.
Present Indicative Of Saber
sé (I know), tú sabes (you know), usted/él/ella sabe (you know, he/she knows), nosotros/as sabemos (we know), vosotros/as sabéis (you know), ustedes/ellos/ellas saben (you/they know)
Saber Preterite Conjugation
yo supe (I knew), tú supiste (you knew), usted/él/ella supo (you, he/she knew), nosotros/as supimos (we knew), vosotros/as supisteis (you knew), ustedes/ellos/ellas supieron (they knew)
Saber And Conocer Conjugation
In the present tense, both saber and conocer are regular in all conjugations except for the first person. Here are the conjugations of saber and conocer in the present tense:
|Él / Ella||Sabe||Conoce|
In the pretérito indefinido (past simple tense), saber is very irregular.
Here are the conjugations of saber in the two past tenses:
|Él / Ella||Supo||Sabía|
The Future Tense of Saber
|yo sabré||I will know|
|tú sabrás||You (informal) will know|
|él/ella/ello/uno sabrá||He/she/one will know|
|usted sabrá||You (formal) will know|
|nosotros sabremos||We will know|
|vosotros sabréis||You all (informal) will know|
|ellos/ellas sabrán||They will know|
|ustedes sabrán||You all (formal) will 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 conocer… y 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
Conocer In Reciprocal Sentences
In Spanish, reciprocal verbs are used to describe two people doing the same action to each other. These verbs are constructed using reflexive pronouns.
Sentences with conocer in reciprocal form are quite common since they refer to two people meeting each other. For example:
English: How did you meet each other?
Español: ¿Cómo os conocisteis?
English: When did we meet?
Español: ¿Cuándo nos conocimos?
English: They met each other in 1991 and have been in love ever since.
Español: Se conocieron en 1991 y están enamorados desde entonces.