How do you tell the difference between savoir and connaitre?

I have a pretty good idea of when to use each one. Of course, there's the trick that savoir deals in facts and connaitre means 'to be familiar with,' but sometimes facts and familiarity can overlap.

I know that if within the same clause there's another verb, that you use savoir, and if there's a question word, you use savoir.

But there are still times where there isn't a question word or another verb and you still use savoir. The 'familiar with' trick just doesn't seem consistent to me.

For example, to say, "I know the bus schedule," you'd use "Je sais." But you can be 'familiar with' a bus schedule, there's no other verbs, or question words.

So basically, is there another trick to use to know when to use connaitre or savoir? Thanks.

September 10, 2016


You seem pretty aware of when to use each word.

Savoir is followed by an infinitive verb or a subordinate clause, while connaître is followed by a noun or a nominal clause.

Lorsque tu connais les règles, tu sais quand utiliser le bon mot :)

September 10, 2016

Thank you! I do have a good idea of when to use them, but I still find myself making errors. Anyway, those specific situations you provided will help.


September 10, 2016

My guess is that savoir is more like "know how" as in knowing how to do something or understanding some information. Connaître is more for knowing a person or place from what I remember.

September 10, 2016

In general, you use connaître when what you know is followed by a noun (a thing) or proper noun (a name), otherwise use savior. So, if you have an article (un, une, le, la, les, ta, ton, tes, votre etc), a pronoun or the name of a person, company, town etc you will generally need connaître.

My feeling is that for your example you would say Je sais l'horaire de bus if you intended to say that I have memorised the bus schedule, but Je connais l'horaire de bus if you mean that you generally know when the buses will turn up, although, you may want to wait for a native speaker to confirm that.

September 10, 2016

Je connais l'horaire de l'autobus. I know what the bus schedule is.( I know when the bus stops generally )

Je sais l'heure qu'il est. - I know what time it is.( I looked at my watch at that moment)

September 10, 2016

Savoir is now taught in many classrooms as "to know facts or information" in order to be able to the tell the difference between savor and connaître. Connaître is also followed by a noun and is mainly used for knowing a place or person instead of info! Hope this helps!

September 12, 2016

[deactivated user]

    I really recommend Language City on Youtube for advanced learners as well as beginners and intermediates.

    August 6, 2018

    We use savoir when we say that we know some information , instructions , rules of a game , how to operate a machine , dates of particular events , information where a person stays , etc .

    We use connaître when we say that we know a person , book , a place , the name of an animal , etc .

    They taught this in school but I didn’t understand . Can someone help me complete these sentences ..

    1. Je _bien M. Shahrukh Khan . Tu _son adresse?
    2. __-vous faire des crêpes ?
    3. Mon père __ bien la France .
    4. Il ____ jouer de la guitare .
    5. _____ -vous l’actrice là-bas ?

    Pls someone reply fast !!!

    August 15, 2018
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