They both translate to "to know". The trouble is that French makes a distinction between to ways of knowing something that English doesn't make.
Connaître basically means to know something in the sense of reCOGNizeing it. I capitalized the COGN because they stem from the same Latin word: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/conna%C3%AEtre
Savoir is more like "to know [how]" or "to know [that]". So an example where they can both be used but imply different things:
"Je connais l'histoire" = "I know the story"
"Je sais l'histoire" = "I know the story"
The first sentence implies you RECOGNIZE the story, as in you know the story exists. The second implies you know HOW the story goes, as in you are able to retell the story.
My advice, is figure out how to use "Connaître" and if you would not use it, then default to "Savoir"
For more information check out here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/savoirconnaitre.htm
In addition to this, an alternative way of saying "connaître" would be to say "to be familiar with"
yes, that was the answer that I gave. It was incorrect and the correct answer was "he knows".
Just looked up the two definitions. "Connaitre" essentially means to have precise, experiential, or competent knowledge of something/one. "Savoir" essentially means informative or instinctual knowledge. http://www.le-dictionnaire.com/definition.php?mot=connaitre http://www.le-dictionnaire.com/definition.php?mot=savoir
Wow! This has always given me trouble, but your explanation, Patlaf has made it so much clearer. Thank you!
Il connait = knowing like: (the example) to know him. Il sait is knowing like: to know what is true or wrong. If you are English it's hard to understand because the is just one word for sait et connait. In my language we have kennen en kunnen (is Dutch)
Thank you I'm Danish and just slightly understand Kennen and weten or at least my mind made me think about the Danish version of il sais et il connaît
Ziggy and Leah - indeed (I'm Afrikaans) - and now I don't know how it is possible to have this sentence - "il connait" - without an object? Hy ken WAT?
Isn't connaître always a transitive verb? Are we supposed to assume an object is implied here?
I was wondering the same thing. According to LAROUSSE (http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/conna%C3%AEtre/18277?q=connaitre#18172), it's transitive.
I can't think of a context that this would make sense in in English without an 'it' or 'him' or other subject. I was marked wrong for putting he knows it. Am I wrong?
"Can you tell Jamie his pants are on fire?" "He knows."
Weird example, I know, but it's the first one I came up with.
Pretty sure it's always "he". "One" as in, "One is wise to ask when one has a question," while awkward, old-fashioned, and overly formal in English would translate to "on" in French, where it is used quite often.
Someone else please correct me if I'm wrong.
In context, why wouldn't the response "He is familiar with" acceptable?
It is so because it is not a complete sentence. In your sentence it is necessary to have some object as in, say, 'He is familiar with the book'. On the contrary, 'He knows' is a complete sentence in English.
If connaître is "to know" in the sense of being familiar with something, how can there be a sentence like this without an object? What does "il connaît" here really mean if it's not "he knows" in the exact same sense as "il sait"?
To help myself remember the difference, I compare it to "conocer" vs "saber" in Spanish. "Conocer" is like, "are you familiar with this person?" , and "saber" is like knowing a literal answer to a math problem. The C and the S at the beginning of each verb helps me remember the difference in French!
Is this an example where I need the circumflex accent? We have the circumflex on the infinitive and only on the third person singular in the present tense. Can anyone explain why.
I'm confused on this sentence... what's the difference between connais and connait?
Je connais (I know), tu connais (you know), il connaît (he knows), nous connaissons (we know), vous connaissez (you know, pl), ils connaissent (they know). www.conjugation-fr.com/conjugate.php?verb=connaitre
Why is there a circumflex on the "i" in " connaît ' but not in any of the other conjugations of connaître?
in the same session i put connait, answer was wrong . tYhis time i put the correct answer given last time. the previous answer was right