Tutorial Transcript

Hello everyone and welcome back to my channel! Today I want to talk to you about the difference between the verbs "sapere" and "conoscere". Since their meanings are sometimes confused, I thought about doing this lesson to clearly highlight which are the cases in which you'd use one verb and which are cases in which you'd use the other verb. Obviously, I will give you some examples to help you understand better. I want to start with the cases in which these two verbs have completely different meanings. Let's start with the verb "sapere". The first case in which we use the verb "sapere" is as one of the "verbi servili", together with dovere, potere, volere, and solere (to be used to doing something), in order acquire the meaning "to have the capacity to do something" or "to be able to do something". Let's then talk about more practical knowledge, "to know how to do something". Luca doesn't know how to ride a bicycle, so Luca isn't capable of riding a bicycle. Sergio doesn't know how to cook. Sergio isn't capable of cooking. So you see, from these examples we know that we're talking about a practical knowledge. On the other hand, we have the the verb "conoscere", which we need to use when we're talking about people. This use is very clear, this use of the verb "conoscere" with regard to people is very clear if you think of the phrase "piacere di conoscerti o conoscerla". When you meet a person, you form a connection/relation to that person. Therefore you know them. So, for example: "Do you know Marcella" "No, I don't know her." In these situations, when we're talking about people, it's wrong to use the verb "sapere", okay? With people you only use the verb "conoscere". So what have we seen so far? We have seen two very different meanings of the verb "sapere" and the verb "conoscere", so in these two cases the two verbs are not confused because "sapere" indicates a practical knowledge, so to know how to do something, to be able to do something, or to be capable of doing something, while "conoscere" indicates knowing a person. Now let's go to the more difficult part, that is the situations or the situation in which "sapere" and "conoscere" can be confused because they both have to do with knowledge, both the verbs have to do with expressing understanding or the knowledge of some information, of a group of concepts. But also here there's a difference because the verb "sapere" we attribute to a passive knowledge, while the verb "conoscere" we attribute to an active knowledge. Now, I'll give you some examples. Put in words, it seems difficult, but in reality it's not. Alright, let's see examples of passive knowledge with the verb "sapere": Sara did not know that you were coming to the party. Do you know why the hairdresser is closed today? I don't know how to manage without glasses. I still don't know the date of the exam. I don't know if you're messing with me or being serious. In the case of these examples, we've seen that the phrase that contains the verb "sapere" is always followed by a dependent clause introduced by "che", "come", "quando", etc. "Sapere" in this case is much more widely used than "conoscere", because obviously the cases in which we're presented with a passive knowledge are much more numerous than cases in which we can say we're presented with an active knowledge. Let's see some examples with "conoscere" regarding active knowledge: my friend knows Spanish very well because she's been studying it since she was young. I know the early works of Pascoli very well because I studied them in depth. Luca doesn't know the reason for Sara's behavior, he's not aware. In these examples you have a type of knowledge that is active and conscious, that is the result of looking into something in depth, of study, readings, etc. If I say "I know (conosco) Pascoli's works very well because I studied them in depth", it's very different from saying or from asking "do you know (sai) what time the hairdresser opens today?" It's passive knowledge because it's not the result of reading, study, going into depth, comprehension, dialogues, etc. If you know what time the hairdresser opens it's because you passed by and just took a look at the closing and opening times. The situation in which it's easiest to confuse the two verbs "sapere" and "conoscere" is when we're talking about a concept or some information. I'm telling you that the verb "sapere" is much more widely used in that case with respect to the verb "conoscere". It all depends on how this concept or information was acquired, if in an active or passive mode. If it's a passive mode, we use the verb "sapere", if it's an active mode because it's the result of study, going in depth, reading, etc. we use the verb "conoscere". This is an explanation on how to use the verb "sapere" and how to use the verb "conoscere" in the correct way. Now i'll give you time to register and process all of this information and if you have questions, if you still have some concerns, you can write to me, send me an email or leave a comment in the comments down below, in the comment section down below. It's not difficult, you just need to think about it a bit, okay? Alright, thank you very much for having watched this lesson. I hope it's of help to you. Leave a thumbs up if you liked this video and don't forget to subscribe to my channel. See you next lesson! Ciao!