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The Spanish verb Saber means “to know”. Let’s learn saber, sabido, sé, sabe, sabes, saben, and sabemos. We’ll also get lots of practice using this verb out loud.

Full Podcast Episode


Ya lo van a saber.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Let’s learn the verb for “to know” so that we can learn how to say things like “I don’t know”, “they knew it”, and “How do you know that?”

The verb is saber, and the infinitive is quite easy to learn. See if you can predict how to say a couple of sentences:

They’re going to know it.

Lo van a saber.

I really don’t want to know that.

De verdad no quiero saber eso.

The participle is sabido. So for example:

They have known this for a while.

Han sabido esto por un tiempo.

But the most common form of this verb, by far, is the word for “I know”, which is . This is spelled S-E, with an accent mark over the E, which helps distinguish it from the reflexive pronoun se. Here’s an example:

I know they’re here.

Sé que están aquí.

Let’s practice saber, sabido, and .

I don’t know if they are on your side.

No sé si están de tu lado.

I have known it for a while.

Lo he sabido por un tiempo.

I know it, and now, you have to know it.

Lo sé, y ahora, tú lo tienes que saber.

Seriously, I don’t know how they do it.

En serio, no sé cómo lo hacen.

The other present-tense forms of Saber are pretty regular. “He/she knows” is sabe, which is just Saber but without the R at the end. And the other forms are based on that: The informal “you know” is sabes, “they know” is saben, and “we know” is sabemos.

Let’s practice these.

Even the boy knows the truth; you don’t?

Hasta el chico sabe la verdad, ¿tú no?

By the way, do you (formal) know if she is at the house?

Por cierto, ¿usted sabe si ella está en la casa?

We already know that that is the best thing about the story.

Ya sabemos que eso es lo mejor de la historia.

In the next example, “knowing how to do something” is simply translated as “knowing to do something”. In Spanish, you can put Saber right before another verb to indicate knowing how to do something; the “how” from the English sentence just disappears. For example, “I don’t know how to do this” translates into Spanish simply as no sé hacer esto.

Try it yourself with this example:

Do they really know how to do that?

¿De verdad saben hacer eso? 

To talk about knowing something in the past, you’re most likely to use the imperfect forms, which are all based on sabía. For example:

I didn’t know it.

No lo sabía.

We knew they had it.

Sabíamos que ellos lo tenían.

How did they know that?

¿Cómo sabían eso?

Let’s practice these.

She knew that this train(m) was not fast.

Ella sabía que este train no era rápido.

Ella sabía que este tren no era rápido.

Not everyone knew the truth at that moment.

No todos sabían la verdad en ese momento.

It is not certain that you knew what I knew.

No es cierto que tú sabías lo que yo sabía.

You (formal) knew that this had a nice shape.

Usted sabía que esto tenía una buena forma.

Yes, we know she was not at the house.

Sí, sabíamos que ella no estaba en la casa.

The subjunctive forms of Saber are very irregular because they all start with “sep”: sepa, sepas, sepan, and sepamos. For example:

He wants them to know it.

Quiere que ellos lo sepan.

I will do it when she knows that.

Lo haré cuando ella sepa eso.

I want you to know that I love you.

Quiero que sepas que te quiero.

You don’t want us to know it?

¿No quieres que lo sepamos?

Let’s practice these.

I hope that you know that this is a great story.

I hope que sepas que esta es una gran historia.

Espero que sepas que esta es una gran historia.

The girl wants me to know this.

La chica quiere que yo sepa esto.

We are here so that you (formal) know the truth.

Estamos aquí para que usted sepa la verdad.

He wants us to know everything and not just a part of the story.

Quiere que sepamos todo y no sólo una parte de la historia.

I don’t think that he knows that the man is dead.

No creo que él sepa que el hombre está muerto.

That’s why I don’t want them to know that he is not around.

Por eso no quiero que sepan que no está.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, it’s important to point out that Spanish actually has two words that are translated into English as “to know”. The verb Saber is specifically used for knowledge about facts, or about whether or not something is the case. In English, we also talk about “knowing someone”, when we’re talking about being acquainted with someone. For example, “I don’t know her”. The verb Saber is not used that way; there’s a different verb for that, which we’ll learn soon.

All right, let’s practice Saber in a variety of ways using today’s final quiz.

David knows that the place is not large.

David sabe que el lugar no es grande.

Do you know the story of the woman that is no longer alive?

¿Sabes la historia de la mujer que ya no está viva?

Yes we can, unless he already knows the truth.

Sí podemos, a menos que él ya sepa la verdad. 

I’ve always known that that type of thing is very good. 

Siempre he sabido que ese tipo de cosa es muy bueno. 

I know very little, but I do know her name.

Yo sé muy poco, pero sí sé su nombre.

That person is going to do that so that we know everything.

Esa persona va a hacer eso para que sepamos todo.

Ana knew the story or at least that part.

Ana sabía la historia o al menos esa parte. 

That sweater(m) is serious but of a very lively color(m).

Ese sweater es serio pero de un color muy vivo.

Ese suéter es serio pero de un color vivo.

I hope they don’t know less than us.

I hope que no sepan menos que nosotros.

Espero que no sepan menos que nosotros.

When she knows that, she is going to be very happy.

Cuando ella sepa eso, va a estar muy feliz.

You did not have to know everything, she didn't know everything and it was fine.

No tenías que saber todo, ella no sabía todo y estaba bien.

I knew little and they knew a lot.

Yo sabía poco y ellos sabían mucho.

We knew that she was at that place.

Sabíamos que ella estaba en ese lugar.

Do you know that they know that?

¿Sabes que ellos saben eso?

We know that that is like that and they know it too.

Sabemos que eso es así y ellos lo saben también.

So that you know, I am not going to be here with you. 

Para que sepas, no voy a estar aquí contigo.

We know that Pedro is new at the place, but she didn't know it.

Sabemos que Pedro es nuevo en el lugar, pero ella no lo sabía.

Did you know that we are going to go that day?

¿Sabías que vamos a ir ese día?

They know that was unique and now I also know it. 

Ellos sabían que eso era único y ahora yo también lo sé.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/76.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn more forms of Saber, and we’ll also explore some forms of Haber that we’ve never learned before.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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