Differences Between Sapere And Conoscere

Grammar tip ita

Do you know the differences between Sapere and Conoscere in the past?

There are significant differences between Sapere and Conoscere depending on the past tense we use in Italian.

This means that if we use the Passato Prossimo or the Imperfetto of these two verbs, the meaning of what I say changes.

Going through some examples is definitely the best way to understand this difference.

Let’s start with Sapere!

Italian English
Ho saputo che hai cambiato lavoro. I came to know that you changed job.
Anna ha saputo che sua sorella va in India. Anna just came to know that her sister is going to India.
Non sapevo che vivi a Milano. I didn’t know that you live in Milano.
Luca sapeva già che Maria ha trovato una casa nuova. Luca already knew that Maria found a new house.

 

In the first two examples, the Passato Prossimo of Sapere expresses a new information that the subject gets from someone.

In the other two sentences, the Imperfetto of Sapere expresses something that the subject already knew an information for a long time.

Now have a look at Conoscere!

Italian English
Ho conosciuto il mio fidanzato in vacanza. I met my boyfriend on holiday.
Paola ieri ha conosciuto i suoi nuovi colleghi. Yesterday Paola met her new colleagues.
Laura e Marco conoscevano già il ristorante dove siamo andati. Laura and Marco already knew the restaurant where we went.
Conoscevo l’albergo perché ci ho lavorato tanti anni fa. I knew the hotel because I worked there many years ago.

 

In the first two examples, the Passato Prossimo of Conoscere expresses that the subject met someone for the first time.

In the other sentences, the Imperfetto of Conoscere expresses that the subject already knew someone or something for a long time.

Can you make some more examples?

Don’t forget to have a look at our online resources or video tutorials to learn more!

 

Questions