Conjugation of the Spanish ‘Conocer’ and Similar Verbs

Stem changes for verbs with ‘-ecer’ ending

mariachis performing
Conozco bien la música mexicana. (I know Mexican music well.).

Gerardo Gonzalez / Creative Commons.

Conocer, a verb that usually means "to know" in the sense of knowing a person or place, is sometimes irregularly conjugated in its present tenses and the imperative mood. The stem, conoc-, changes to conozc- when it is followed by an -o or -a. The ending (what comes after after the c- or cz-) remains unchanged.

In other words, when the c of the stem is followed by an a or o in the ending, it becomes cz rather than the z that would be expected.

Other verbs ending in -ecer—there are more than 100 of them, although most of them are seldom used—follow the same pattern.

The more common verbs using this pattern include agradecer (to give thanks), complacer (to please), crecer (grow), desconocer (to not know), desobedecer (to disobey), entristecer (to make sad) florecer (to flourish, to bloom), merecer (to deserve), nacer (to be born), obedecer (to obey), ofrecer (to offer), padecer (to suffer), parecer (to seem), perecer (to perish), pertenecer (to belong to), preconocer (to know in advance), and reconocer (to recognize).

Irregular forms are show below in boldface. Translations are given as a guide and in real life may vary with context.

Infinitive of Conocer

conocer (to know)

Gerund of Conocer

conociendo (knowing)

Participle of Conocer

conocido (known)

Present Indicative of Conocer

yo conozco, tú conoces, usted/él/ella conoce, nosotros/as conocemos, vosotros/as conocéis, ustedes/ellos/ellas conocen (I know, you know, he knows, etc.)

Preterite of Conocer

yo conocí, tú conociste, usted/él/ella conoció, nosotros/as conocimos, vosotros/as conocisteis, ustedes/ellos/ellas conocieron (I knew, you knew, she knew, etc.)

Imperfect Indicative of Conocer

yo conocía, tú conocías, usted/él/ella conocía, nosotros/as conocíamos, vosotros/as conocíais, ustedes/ellos/ellas conocían (I used to know, you used to know, he used to know, etc.)

Future Indicative of Conocer

yo conoceré, tú conocerás, usted/él/ella conocerá, nosotros/as conoceremos, vosotros/as conoceréis, ustedes/ellos/ellas conocerán (I will know, you will know, he will know, etc.)

Conditional of Conocer

yo conocería, tú conocerías, usted/él/ella conocería, nosotros/as conoceríamos, vosotros/as conoceríais, ustedes/ellos/ellas conocerían (I would know, you would know, she would know, etc.)

Present Subjunctive of Conocer

que yo conozca, que tú conozcas, que usted/él/ella conozca, que nosotros/as conozcamos, que vosotros/as conozcáis, que ustedes/ellos/ellas conozcan (that I know, that you know, that she know, etc.)

Imperfect Subjunctive of Conocer

que yo conociera (conociese), que tú conocieras (conocieses), que usted/él/ella conociera (conociese), que nosotros/as conociéramos (conociésemos), que vosotros/as conocierais (conocieseis), que ustedes/ellos/ellas conocieran (conociesen) (that I knew, that you knew, that he knew, etc.)

Imperative of Conocer

conoce (tú), no conozcas (tú), conozca (usted), conozcamos (nosotros/as), conoced (vosotros/as), no conozcáis (vosotros/as), conozcan (ustedes) (know, don't know, know, let's know, etc.)

Compound Tenses of Conocer

The perfect tenses are made by using the appropriate form of haber and the past participle, conocido. The progressive tenses use estar with the gerund, conociendo.

Sample Sentences Showing Conjugation of Conocer and Verbs Following the Same Pattern

Me encontraba trabajando a tiempo completo y no pude conocer personalmente a los chicos. (I found myself working full-time and wasn't able to get to personally know the boys. Infinitive.)

Ha merecido la pena el viaje hasta aquí. (The trip to here has been worth the bother. Present perfect.)

Esta ciudad no es muy grande, pero todavía no la conozco bien. (This city isn't very large, but I still don't know it well. Present indicative.)

Estoy ofreciendo mucho más que la paz. I am offering much more than peace. Present progressive.)

¿Alguna vez has querido saber en qué día de la semana naciste? (Have you ever wanted to know which day of the week you were born on? Preterite.)

Antes los padres mandaban y los chicos obedecían; hoy sus roles están invertidos. (Before, the parents gave orders and the children obeyed; today, their roles are reversed. Imperfect.)

Solo florecemos si nuestras necesidades emocionales están atendidas. (We will only flourish if our emotional needs are attended to. Future.)

No te reconocería si nos encontrásemos. (I wouldn't recognize you if we were to run into each other. Conditional.)

¿Cómo reparo algo que pertenezca a otro? (How can I repair something that belongs to someone else? Present subjunctive.)

Hubo una gran variedad de penas aplicables a toda persona que desobedeciera el decreto imperial. (There was a great variety of punishments applicable to everyone who disobeyed the imperial degree. Imperfect subjunctive.)

¡No desobedezcas creyendo que todo estará bien! (Don't disobey believing everything is going to be OK! Imperative.)

Key Takeaways

  • Spanish verbs ending in -ecer are irregularly conjugated in the indicative present, the subjunctive present, and the imperative.
  • Conocer is the most common of these verbs, of which there are dozens.
  • The c of the stem changes to zc when it is followed by an a or o.
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Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "Conjugation of the Spanish ‘Conocer’ and Similar Verbs." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 27). Conjugation of the Spanish ‘Conocer’ and Similar Verbs. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "Conjugation of the Spanish ‘Conocer’ and Similar Verbs." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).

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