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Conoscere in Italian

This verb confuses me. The meaning changes from "to know" to "to meet" seemingly at random, and I have no idea why or if there are any rules regarding this. Can anyone explain this to me or is it one of those weird language quirks that has no rules or explanation?


July 27, 2017



There are two verbs, sapere and conoscere, that both translate basically as "know".

You can know facts. That is sapere.

You can know people. That is conoscere. This also can mean that you have met somebody or something, that you are familiar with them. This also applies to cities; you can never know a city so completely as to sapere the city, only conoscere.

I suppose sapere indicates a more thorough knowledge of something than conoscere.


Thank you for clarifying. I speak Spanish and the verbs are identical as far as I can tell, yet I've never had a problem discerning the meanings (to know/to meet) in Spanish. Maybe it's just the duolingo algorithm that puts together some funky sentences that make the meaning hard for me to understand.


Hi, since most folks in the general "Duolingo" forum aren't learning Italian, could you please edit your post and change the topic from "Duolingo" to "Italian"? That way it won't clutter up the general forum, and the info you get could help others who are learning Italian and browsing that forum. Thanks so much!!

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