To know in French: “savoir” and “connaître”

How to use savoir et connaître

In French,two verbs can be translated by the English verb “to know”: savoir and connaître.

Present tense conjugation:

je sais
tu sais
il sait
elle sait
nous savons
vous savez
ils savent
elles savent

je connais
tu connais
il connaît
elle connaît
nous connaissons
vous connaissez
ils connaissent
elles connaissent

1) savoir + infinitive = to know how to do something

Savez-vous conduire ? =  Do you know how to drive?

Je ne sais pas nager. = I don’t know how to swim.

2) Savoir + a subordinate clause:

Je sais qu’il l’a fait. = I know he did it.

Je sais il est. = I know where he is.

Note: In the passé composé (past tense), savoir means “to learn” or “to find out”:

Je l’ai su hier. = I found out about it yesterday.

1/ Connaître quelqu’un =  to know a person

Je connais Paul. = I know Paul.

2) to be familiar with a place or thing

Je connais bien Toulouse.  = I know / am familiar with Toulouse.

Note: Connaître is always followed by a noun.

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