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Published on: Grammar

Spanish Verbs: Understanding Saber Conjugation

Verbs are usually the most important part of speech because they explain the core functionality of a sentence. From a language-learning perspective, it is important to thoroughly study them and their complex conjugations.

Of course, as a Spanish learner, you don’t need to study each verb and its conjugations one by one, as it would take you forever to learn them all! But a good recommendation is that you study the most common ones, especially if they are irregular verbs.

In this article, we will be talking about a very common irregular verb: saber (to know). We will be sharing the saber conjugation and other crucial information about this widely used verb!

The Spanish Verb Saber

Saber might be in the top 10 most common verbs in Spanish, it’s an irregular verb and means “To know in English, however, “To know” means two different things in Spanish, “Saber” and “Conocer”.

Saber vs Conocer

In Spanish, there are two verbs that express the same idea of “to know”: saber and conocer. It’s important to know the differences between the two because they’re not interchangeable. Let’s learn the meaning of these two very important verbs!


Saber is commonly used to express facts, learned skills, or information that you memorized. For example:

  • Yo reparar autos. I know how to repair cars.
  • Jessica no sabe hablar español. – Jessica can’t speak Spanish.
  • Ellos saben quién fue el que se comió las galletas. – They know who ate the cookies.


Conocer, on the other hand, is used when you want to express that you know a person, a place, or a thing (for example knowing the existence of a book or a movie). For example:

  • Conozco un restaurante que está muy cerca. – I know a restaurant that is very close
  • ¿Conoces a Ricardo? ¡Es un amigo mío! – Have you met Ricardo? He is a friend of mine!
  • ¡Conozco un libro muy bueno! – I know a very good book!

Spanish Verb Saber Conjugation

Indicative Conjugation of Saber

Here’s a table with the basic saber verb conjugation in past, present, and future conjugation with some examples

Subject Present Preterite Imperfect Future Conditional
Yo Supe Sabía Sabré Sabría
Sabes Supiste Sabías Sabrás Sabrías
Él, Ella, Usted Sabe Supo Sabía Sabrá Sabría
Nosotros Sabemos Supimos Sabiamos Sabremos Sabríamos
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes Saben Supieron Sabían Sabrán Sabrían

For example:

Nosotros sabemos hablar en español. – We know how to speak Spanish.

¡Tú supiste cocinar bíen el otro día! – You knew how to cook well the other day!

  • Imperfect tense: 

Yo sabía como arreglar bicicletas, pero ya se me olvidó. – I knew how to fix bikes, but I already forgot.

sabrás dibujar bien, solamente tienes que practicar todos los días. – You will know how to draw well, you just have to practice every day.

Ellos sabrían cantar si solamente practicaran. – They would know how to sing if they only practiced.

Saber Conjugation: Compound Tenses of the Indicative Mood

Subject Present Perfect Preterite Perfect Past Perfect (Pluperfect) Conditional Perfect Future Perfect
Yo he sabido hube sabido había sabido habría sabido habré sabido
has sabido hubiste sabido habías sabido habrías sabido habrás sabido
Él, Ella, Usted ha sabido hubo sabido había sabido habría sabido habrá sabido
Nosotros hemos sabido hubimos sabido habíamos sabido habríamos sabido habremos sabido
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes han sabido hubieron sabido habían sabido habrían sabido habrán sabido

For example:

He sabido como usar esta cámara. – I have known how to use this camera.

  • Preterite perfect tense: 

Ellos hubieron sabido cómo salir de ese lugar a tiempo. – They would have known how to get out of that place in time.

Ella había sabido cómo cocinar la pizza. – She had known how to cook pizza.

  • Conditional perfect tense: 

habrías sabido cómo bailar si hubieras practicado. – You would have known how to dance if you had practiced.

  • Future perfect tense: 

El próximo año habremos sabido como construir esas casas. – Next year we will have known how to build those houses.

Saber Conjugation: Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive is a verb mood that is used to express possible, desired, or hypothetical statements, in other words, statements that are not actually happening or are uncertain to happen. 

Subject Present Imperfect 1 Imperfect 2 Future
Yo sepa supiera supiese supiere
sepas supieras supieses supieres
Él, Ella, Usted sepa supiera supiese supiere
Nosotros sepamos supiéramos supiésemos supiéremos
Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes sepan supieran supiesen supieren


Imperfect 1 and imperfect 2 are interchangeable. The second form might be considered the “traditional” form of the past subjunctive, while imperfect 1 comes from an old Latin indicative form.

For example:

¡Ella quiere que sepas que te quiere mucho! – She wants you to know that she loves you very much!

Es importante que ustedes supieran lo mucho que los aprecio. – It is important that you know how much I appreciate you.

  • Future Subjunctive: 

Ella no cree que tú supieres que es lo que hay en la caja. – She doesn’t think you know what’s in the box.

Saber Conjugation: Imperative Mood

The imperative mood, in Spanish grammar, is used to give orders or commands, which can be affirmative or negative. This mood has fewer subjects to conjugate since you cannot give an order to yourself or to a third person. 

Subject Affirmative Negative
sabe no sepas
Nosotros sepamos no sepamos
Ustedes sepan no sepan

For example:

  • Affirmative example: 

¡Sabe que hoy no saldrás! You know you won’t go out today!

¡No sepas la verdad! – Don’t know the truth!

Other important notes about the verb Ser

Is it “sé” or “se”?

Sé” (with a tilde) is the first-person conjugation of the verb saber in the present tense, on the other hand, “se” is a reflexive pronoun

  • ¡hablar otros idiomas! – I know how to speak other languages!
  • Se está preparando. – He’s getting ready.

Saber (to know) vs saber (to taste)

The verb saber (to know) can be confused with the verb saber (to taste). The conjugation for both is exactly the same:

Este helado sabe a pistacho. – This ice cream tastes like pistachio.


Please note that saber (as in “to taste”) refers only to how something tastes, e.g. “este pastel sabe genial” (this cake tastes great). It cannot be used to express one tasting something, e.g. “would you like to taste the cake?” or “let me taste it”; in these cases, the correct Spanish verbs would be probar or saborear.

Saber as a noun

The verb saber can also work as a noun, and it can be translated to wisdom or knowledge. However, the word knowledge is more accurately translated into conocimiento in Spanish.

  • El Saber es poder. – Knowledge is power.
  • El Conocimiento es poder. – Knowledge is power.

Spanish expressions with the verb Saber

Finally, let’s take a look at some Spanish phrases and expressions with the verb saber. These are my four favorite ones:

Saber Expressions Translation
¿¡Qué sé yo!? “How should I know?”
¡De haberlo sabido! “If I had known about it!”
No sabe, no contesta. Do not know, no answer.
Tiene un no sé qué. “Je ne sais quoi”
Saberse algo de memoria To know something by heart
¡No sé ni papa! Do not know a single thing about something
Solo Dios sabe God (only) knows
Lo sé I know.
Nunca más se supo de él / ellos He was / They were never heard from again
Lo dudo, pero nunca se sabe I doubt it, but you never know
Hazle saber que… Let him/her know
¿Se puede saber si…? Can you tell me if…?

Ya tú sabe’

Learning how to conjugate irregular verbs might be a long way, and you will notice that is not usual to use all the tenses and moods very often. But it’s always good to give it a look at all of the conjugation so you can identify them when you hear or read them.

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