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Supe, sabrá, haya, and hubiera

Let’s learn the rest of our conjugations of Saber, as well as a few new conjugations of Haber, including the subjunctive and the preterite.

Full Podcast Episode


Para que sepan…

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

Let’s finish learning the essential conjugations of Saber, our verb for “to know”. First let’s do a quick review of some of the conjugations we’ve learned already, using a little quiz.

I know what you know.

Sé lo que sabes.

He knows it, but she didn’t know it.

Lo sabe, pero ella no lo sabía.

By the way, we don’t know where he is.

Por cierto, no sabemos dónde está.

She knew less than he.

Sabía menos que él.

They haven’t known it wasn’t new.

No han sabido que no era nuevo.

I want her to know he isn’t dead.

Quiero que ella sepa que él no está muerto.

It might be that I know the truth.

Puede ser que yo sepa la verdad.

When you talk about knowing something in the past, you normally use the imperfect forms, such as sabía or sabíamos. But sometimes knowing something is a one-time event. As an example:

That day I knew she was going to leave.

So in this context, it’s clear that the person speaking didn’t know something all along; instead, knowing it was a sudden event. There was a specific moment when they found it out. Using a preterite form of Saber is almost like saying that you realized something, although there’s a different term in Spanish for that. In general, use the preterite form of Saber to refer to knowing something in the past, where knowing something was an event of some type. We’ll sometimes translate this as “found out”.

Now here’s what’s weird: The preterite forms of Saber are very irregular. The word for “I knew” is supe, and the word for he/she/usted knew is supo. So these forms have the letter P in them, kind of like the subjunctive forms do (sepa, sepan, and so on).

So here’s how you say that sentence in Spanish:

That day I knew she was going to leave.

Ese día supe que se iba a ir.

See if you can predict how to say this one:

This morning he found out what I had.

Esta mañana él supo lo que yo tenía.

In that sentence it’s interesting that we use the preterite form of Saber but the imperfect form of Tener. This is because I had the thing all along, so we use tenía, but he came to know it at one moment, so we use supo.

We’ll do a similar thing in the next three sentences. Try to predict them.

At that moment I found out what she wanted.

En ese momento supe lo que ella quería.

That night she knew that I was her friend(f).

Esa noche supo que yo era su amiga.

How did he know that we weren’t here?

¿Cómo supo que no estábamos aquí?

Now of course, phrases like “how did he know” are much more likely to translate as ¿Cómo sabía? So in our quizzing, when guessing the past tense of Saber, generally assume that it’s going to be the imperfect, unless we make it pretty clear that you should expect the preterite, either by using a specific timeframe or by saying “found out” instead of “knew”.

OK, so we’ve learned that many forms of Saber start with s-a-b, such as saben and sabíamos, but some have the letter P in them, such as sepas and supe. The past tense subjunctive forms of Saber are all based on supiera. This starts with s-u-p, just like the preterite forms. (In fact, as a general rule, past tense subjunctives are based on the panda preterite forms of verbs; notice how much supiera sounds like supieron. This is a pattern you’ll see more and more as we learn more verbs.)

So here’s an example of the past tense subjunctive of Saber.

If he knew it, he wouldn’t do that.

Si él lo supiera, no haría eso.

You’re actually going to use this quite a bit in real life, because it’s quite common to talk in the hypothetical about what someone does or doesn’t know.

The other common past tense subjunctive forms are supieras and supieran.

Let’s practice these a bit.

If you knew the truth, everything would be fine.

Si supieras la verdad, todo estaría bien.

If they knew it, they would be more serious.

Si lo supieran, serían más serios.

If she knew how to do that, she would be faster.

Si ella supiera hacer eso, sería más rápida.

If I knew how to cook, I would cook more.

Si yo supiera to cook, I would cook más.

Si yo supiera cocinar, cocinaría más.

(formal) You wouldn’t go to the party if you knew the truth.

Usted no iría a la fiesta si supiera la verdad.

The future and conditional forms of Saber are a little bit irregular because they’re shortened. It’s kind of like the future and conditional of Poder; so theoretically for “I will know”, “he will know”, and so on, we should have “saberé”, “saberá”, and so on, but we actually have sabré, sabrá, sabrás, sabrán, and sabremos. And then for the conditional, to say that someone “would” know something, we have sabría, sabrías, sabrían, and sabríamos.

Let’s practice these a bit.

I will know it when he tells me it.

Lo sabré cuando él me lo tells.

Lo sabré cuando él me lo diga.

You (formal) will know it in 2 minutes.

Usted lo sabrá en dos minutos.

I would know it and she would know if you told it to us.

Yo lo sabría y ella lo sabría si nos lo you told.

Yo lo sabría y ella lo sabría si nos lo dijeras.

They wouldn’t know the truth, but you would know it.

Ellos no sabrían la verdad, pero tú la sabrías.

We would know the story if you told it to us.

Sabríamos la historia si nos la you told.

Sabríamos la historia si nos la contaras.

Seriously, we will know it this evening.

En serio, lo sabremos esta noche.

You will know what part to make.

Sabrás qué parte hacer.

They will know the big surprise this afternoon.

Sabrán la gran surprise esta tarde.

Sabrán la gran sorpresa esta tarde.

Before we go on to today’s quiz, let’s learn a few new forms of Haber. The thing is, Haber and Saber are actually pretty closely related, even though their meanings have nothing in common. Just think about all the first-person present-tense forms of all the verbs that we’ve learned. Let’s quiz this pretty quickly.

How do you say “I am”? Well, that’s either soy or estoy.

And then how do you say “I go”? That’s voy, which is similar to those other two.

How do you say “I do” or “I make”? Hago.

How do you say “I have”, in terms of possession? Tengo, which is closely related to hago.

How do you say “I have”, as in “I have done something” or “I have been something”? That’s he, spelled h-e.

And how do you say “I know”? That’s , spelled s-e (with an accent mark).

So the thing is, all the other first-person forms we’ve learned either end with O, as in hago or tengo, or they end with “oy”, as in soy, estoy, and voy. The only “I” forms in the present tense that end with the letter E are he and , these forms of Haber and Saber.

So Haber and Saber are closely related in the way they’re conjugated, not just because of this, but because of a few other forms as well. So while we’re in Saber’s neighborhood, let’s learn a few new forms of Haber.

Now, so far, we’ve only learned Haber’s present, imperfect past, and future tenses. But Haber also has a preterite tense and subjunctive forms, which are pretty commonly used.

As a reminder, Haber is used in two extremely different ways: You can use its conjugations before participles, for example han sido amigos or había ido ahí. But you can also use it to talk about existence, as in hay dos personas en la casa or habrá algo nuevo ese día. Well, when we use Haber to talk about existence, we have to be prepared to use it in any tense, because existence can happen in the past, the present, the future, or really at any time.

For that reason, Haber actually has a preterite form that you’ll use for existence. The word is hubo, which is a lot like supo in Saber. This means “there was”, but specifically at a particular moment. For example:

That day there was a problem.

Ese día hubo un problema.

Of course, it’s totally appropriate to say había un problema, but that implies that there was a problem all along; hubo is used when the existence of something is an event.

And then we also need the subjunctive, which is haya, spelled h-a-y-a. It’s a lot like hay, but with the letter A at the end. You’ll use this when there’s an intention that something exist. For example:

I want there to be more people here.

Quiero que haya más personas aquí.

Let’s practice hubo and haya.

There was a person here this morning.

Hubo una persona aquí esta mañana.

I want there to be enough food.

Quiero que haya enough food.

Quiero que haya suficiente comida.

I am sure(f) that there wasn’t any problem.

Estoy segura de que no hubo any problema.

Estoy segura de que no hubo ningún problema.

I’m not sure(m) that there is enough money.

No estoy seguro de que haya enough money.

No estoy seguro de que haya suficiente dinero.

The other form of Haber that we should learn is the past tense subjunctive, hubiera. This is very similar to supiera from Saber. Here’s an example:

If there were someone here, I would know it.

Si hubiera alguien aquí, lo sabría.

Here’s another example:

I would leave if there weren’t anything here.

Me iría si no hubiera nada aquí.

Let’s practice this along with some other forms of Haber.

There was an error.

Hubo un error.

Hubo un error.

If there weren’t animals, it would be sad.

Si no hubiera animals, sería sad.

Si no hubiera animales, sería triste.

She hopes there are games at the party.

Espera que haya games en la fiesta.

Espera que haya juegos en la fiesta.

If there were a problem, you would have to do something.

Si hubiera un problema, tendrías que hacer algo.

You can dive into this in more detail at LCSPodcast.com/77. Otherwise, if you feel ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

In this first one, to say “less than I knew”, we literally say “less than what I knew”, using lo que. This is a very common way to talk about comparisons of amounts. So be prepared to use menos de lo que in the middle. See if you can predict this.

You knew less than I knew.

Sabías menos de lo que yo sabía.

That day you will know what I know.

Ese día sabrás lo que yo sé.

You have to know that he found out the truth that day.

Tienes que saber que él supo la verdad ese día.

I knew that that wasn’t the best side that day.

Supe que ese no era el mejor lado ese día.

I found out his name at that moment.

Supe su nombre en ese momento.

You know very little of this.

Sabes muy poco de esto.

I want you to know this is the best.

Quiero que sepas que esto es lo mejor.

I hope there isn’t trouble.

I hope que no haya problemas.

Espero que no haya problemas.

She wants us to know he is the only person that can do it.

Ella quiere que sepamos que él es la única persona que puede hacerlo.

They knew how to cook.

Sabían to cook.

Sabían cocinar.

When you know the truth, everything will be fine.

Cuando sepas la verdad, todo estará bien.

You would know all of this if you did the work.

Sabrías todo esto si hicieras el trabajo.

At least they are alive.

Al menos están vivos.

I will know it when they know it.

Lo sabré cuando ellos lo sepan.

She will know the story when I know it.

Ella sabrá la historia cuando yo la sepa.

We know that you didn’t know it.

Sabemos que no lo sabías.

There was a type of cake at the party.

Hubo un tipo de cake en la fiesta.

Hubo un tipo de pastel en la fiesta.

It’s certain that this party is lively.

Es cierto que esta fiesta es viva.

I know she didn’t know, but there wasn’t a problem.

Sé que ella no sabía, pero no hubo un problema.

She would know if there were only a little.

Ella sabría si sólo hubiera un poco.

I wouldn’t know it.

No lo sabría.

She will know what they know now.

Sabrá lo que ellos saben ahora.

If there was a problem, they would know it.

Si hubiera un problema, ellos lo sabrían.

You know he can’t know it unless she knows it.

Sabes que él no lo puede saber a menos que ella lo sepa.

He found out that we didn’t know.

Supo que no sabíamos.

He knows it and I will know it too.

Lo sabe y yo lo sabré también.

I did it so that he would know it.

Lo hice para que él lo sepa.

If you knew what I knew…

Si supieras lo que yo sabía…

I’m so sorry, we didn’t know it.

I’m so sorry, no lo sabíamos.

Lo siento mucho, no lo sabíamos.

When we know what she wants, it will be good.

Cuando sepamos lo que ella quiere, será bueno.

I have known it for a long time.

Lo he sabido por mucho tiempo.

If you knew what he knows, you wouldn’t be here.

Si supieras lo que él sabe, no estarías aquí.

I hope there is a house there.

I hope que haya una casa ahí.

Espero que haya una casa ahí.

I didn’t know, but you would know.

Yo no sabía, pero tú sabrías.

We wouldn’t know everything you have known.

No sabríamos todo lo que has sabido.

If I knew what these people know, it would be better.

Si yo supiera lo que estas personas saben, sería mejor.

If you told me it, I would know it.

Si me lo you told, lo sabría.

Si me lo dijeras, lo sabría.

I hope they know that they will know it when they study.

I hope que sepan que lo sabrán cuando they study.

Espero que sepan que lo sabrán cuando estudien.

They will know this when I want to tell them it.

Sabrán esto cuando yo se lo quiera to tell.

Sabrán esto cuando yo se lo quiera decir.

We don’t know what they knew.

No sabemos lo que ellos sabían.

If there were a party, he would know how to dance.

Si hubiera una fiesta, él sabría to dance.

Si hubiera una fiesta, él sabría bailar.

You will know what the idea is in an hour.

Sabrás cuál es la idea en una hora.

If he knew what she told you, he would be mad.

Si supiera lo que ella te told, estaría mad.

Si supiera lo que ella te dijo, estaría enojado.

We’ll know it when I know it.

Lo sabremos cuando yo lo sepa.

If he knew what she knew, they wouldn’t go.

Si él supiera lo que ella sabía, no irían.

If they knew what shape to make, it wouldn’t be a problem.

Si supieran qué forma hacer, no sería un problema.

When she knows it, she will be happy.

Cuando lo sepa, estará feliz.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/77.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’re going to learn how to say “without”, “against”, “between”, and “above”.

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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