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Difference Between Sapere and Conoscere

Sapere vs Conoscere

“Sapere” and “conoscere” are verbs in Italian. Both the verbs mean the same, “to know.” They are very close to but different in meaning. These two words are not as evident in English as that in Italian. There are words similar to these in French as “connâitre” and “savoir”; in Welsh as “adnabod” and “gwybod”; and in Portuguese as “conhecer” and “saber.”

“Sapere” is a verb providing basic information about something. It is more of factual information. For instance, if someone knows to do something, it would be considered as sapere, as in;
Sai ballare?
Sai dove sta la biblioteca?

Here “sapere” is used with another verb in its infinitive form. “Sapere” means, “to have knowledge or to know about certain thing or information.”

“Sapere” has irregular forms in the present indicative as in;
nio sappiamo and loro sanno

“Sapere” is used with natural exposure, depth, and understanding of the process.

More examples of the use of “sapere” are listed below:

I don’t know where the keys are.
I know the answer to this question.
Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.
We know how to sing.

A few other examples are:

Lo so, for I know.
Tu sai, for you know.
Lui/lei sa, for he/she knows.
Noi sappiamo, for we know.
Voi sapete, for you (plural) know.
Loro sanno, for they know.


“Conoscere” is also a verb delivering basic information about a place or person. It is used in a literal sense. It may also be used with languages.

“Conoscere” means, “to be familiar with someone or something.”

“Conoscere” is a regular present indicative. It refers to exposure to someone or something.

“Conoscere” may be explained with examples, for instance:

The motives for the crime are not known.
He doesn’t know her brother.
I know you like the back of my hand.
He doesn’t know Michael Schumacher.
Do you know Italy?

Further examples of “conoscere” include:

Lo conosco, for I know.
Tu conosci, for you know.
Lui/lei conosce, for he/she knows.
Loro conoscono, for they know.
Voi conoscete, for you (plural) know:


1.“Sapere” is used with facts while “conoscere” is used with a person, place, or thing.
2.“Sapere” is used with concepts while “conoscere” is used with abstract things.
3.“Sapere” is used as irregular present indicative while “conoscere” is used as regular present indicative.

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