1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. Sapere - avrá saputo


Sapere - avrá saputo

I'm working on future perfect and came across an unexpected translation. DL is translating sapere as learn. Avrà saputo as (He) will have learned. Why not use imparare? How is it used to mean learn? Can anyone provide examples where it would be translated as to learn?

March 26, 2017


  • Luca, ho sentito che ti sei sposato. = Luca, I heard that you got married.
  • Luca, ho saputo che ti sei sposato. = Luca, I learned that you got married.

As you can see, the verb "to learn" doesn't always refer to the process of learning ("imparare"), sometimes it can mean "to find out a piece of information". In these cases you need the verb "sapere" in Italian, because otherwise a sentence like "Ho imparato che ti sei sposato" would make it sound like there's a class at some university called "Luca's wedding", and that wouldn't really make sense.

By the way, the future perfect is also commonly used to express uncertainty, and sometimes even sarcasm.

  • Sarà stato malato tutta la settimana. = He must have been sick the whole week.
  • Avrà dormito tutto il giorno. = He/She must have slept the whole day.
  • Ah, non hai distrutto tu la mia macchina? Sarò stato io, allora! = Oh, it wasn't you who destroyed my car? It must have been me, then! [sarcasm]


Grazie, Duo! Since I am somewhat proficient in Italian, I would normally use..ne ho sentito...and in English, I found out, although I see what you are Saying. I forgot about the meaning of future perfect..and expressing uncertainty or sarcasm that way is something I used to do when I was using the language more. Thanks for a very helpful reminder.


"Sapere" is one of those verbs whose translation changes based on the tense. When it's in a perfect tense or the passato remoto, it generally refers to the action of finding out or learning of something. This is because these tenses usually refer to a specific point in time rather than talking about general conditions (like knowing something). When it's not in one of those tenses, it's mostly referring to the condition of knowing something.

You can see this difference most clearly with the passato prossimo and the imperfect:

Sapevo che non era italiano. I knew that he wasn't Italian. (condition of knowing, no specific action involved here)

Ho saputo che non era italiano. I found out/learned that he wasn't Italian. (I did something to gain this knowledge.)

This can be extended to other tenses, like the future and future perfect:

Saprai che non è italiano. You must know that he isn't Italian.

Avrai saputo che non è italiano. You must have found out that he is not Italian.


Very informative..ho saputo che....I would misunderstand as I knew he wasn't...again..I would say ho letto o sentito...I will have to make myself more aware of this. Grazie.


It's kind of like "found out" in english

on a side note - sapere can also mean "to taste like"

it tastes like chicken - sa di pollo.


I don't know the formal grammar...my instinct for Italian says: ne ho saputo ieri....


Imparare = to learn something willingly (e.g. a language, a lesson, a skill); it implies an active memorization of what is learned.

Sapere = to learn something from someone or by reading it, mostly by chance (e.g. a piece of news); it does not imply an active memorization.


When sapere  takes the meaning of 'to learn' (or 'to hear', 'to become aware') it acts as a transitive verb; but the only direct object it can take is la notizia  ('the news').
Any other noun must be introduced by the preposition di  ('of / about'):

Ho saputo la notizia. = I learned the news.


Ho saputo dell'incidente. = I learned of / about the accident.

Ho saputo della loro partenza. = I learned of / about their departure.

Ho saputo dell'offerta speciale. = I learned of / about the special offer.


Hai saputo la notizia? -- Sì, l'ho saputa.  (note the agreement: notizia → saputa )

Here la  ('it') is a direct object pronoun  (la ho saputal'ho saputa ).


Hai saputo della loro partenza? -- Sì, ne ho saputo.  (saputo  remains invariable)

Hai saputo dell'offerta speciale? -- Sì, ne ho saputo.

The clitic pronoun ne  stands for 'of it', and must be used when what is learned is not explicitly mentioned.
In this case it would not be correct to use the direct object pronoun lo  (lo ho saputol'ho saputo ), because della loro partenza  or dell'offerta speciale  are not a direct object.

Otherwise, the verb sapere  can be followed by a whole subordinate clause, introduced by a conjunction (more often che ):

Ho saputo che (voi) lavorate qui. = I learned / heard that you work here.

Ho saputo che i corsi inizieranno a maggio. = I learned / heard that the courses will start in May.

Ho saputo che lunedì pioverà. = I learned / heard that on Monday it will rain.


Hai saputo che i corsi inizieranno a maggio? -- Sì, l'ho saputo.  (saputo  remains invariable)

Hai saputo che lunedì pioverà? -- Sì, l'ho saputo.

In this case, the direct object pronoun lo ('it') refers to the whole subordinate clause (che i corsi iniziano a giugno?,  che lunedì pioverà ), which acts as the direct object of the question (i.e. what is called an objective clause).
Instead ne ho saputo  would be wrong.

Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.