How do you talk about things you know how to do in French?
Do you mean if I talk about my skills?
Exactly.
Je sais parler anglais et un peu français. Is that right?
Exactly!
When talking about our personal skills we use savoir with an infinitive verb:
Je sais nager.
I know how to swim.
Est-ce que tu sais peindre ?
Do you know how to paint?
Vous savez conduire ?
Do you know how to drive?
So, in French we don't translate the expression how to like in English? That's easier!
Great, right? The reason why I brought this topic up today is that the English verb to know has actually two different meanings in French. The first is savoir, when you talk about your skills and things you learned by heart.
Let's have a look at the other meaning:
Je connais Delphine.
I know Delphine.
Est-ce que tu connais bien Paris ?
Do you know Paris well?
Est-ce que vous connaissez ce livre ?
Do you know this book?
Interesting... or difficult! How do I know which verb to choose?
Savoir is to talk about the skills you have. And connaître is the infinitive form of connais, connaissez... Any idea from the example above?
In the examples you know a person, a place, and a book. Not really helpful!
Let's say that connaître means that you know a fact or you've heard about something or that you're familiar with it.
Alright! Let's see if I can summarize:
To know has two different translations in French:
Savoir To talk about something that we learned how to do, our skills, or that we learned by heart.
Connaître To talk about a person, a place or an object that we know for a fact, that we're familiar with or that we heard about.