A big question mark to illustrate the Spanish verb desconocer.


Every Spanish language student knows that there are two verbs that mean to know, saber and conocer. This is true in other Romance languages as well. What many students don’t know is that we have a verb with the opposite meaning: desconocer.

The main meaning of desconocer is to not know, but it could be translated as to ignore something, to be unknown to, to be unaware, to fail to recognize someone because of some unusual behavior or some unusual physical appearance. In many cases desconocer = no saber, no reconocer, and sometimes no conocer.


Lo desconozco por completo. I don’t know anything about it at all.
Desconozco qué hora es. I don’t know what time it is.
Te desconozco. I don’t recognize you.
Desconozco la respuesta. I don’t know the answer.
Desconozco si él está en casa. I don’t know if he is at home.



More examples from tweets:



“I don’t recognize my face”


“I don’t even recognize myself”  (for eating only healthy food today)



Originally published on 20090812. Latest update 20210429  ( top

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