Hi dear German students :slightly_smiling_face:

In one of my German Live Lessons with my student @nyxtin we practiced the use of the german verbs “WISSEN” and “KENNEN”.

Since these verbs can often lead to confusion for german learners, I would like to explain the difference in more detail. :nerd_face:

To know can be translated into german in 2 ways: wissen" and "kennen
BUT “wissen” is not used in the same way as “kennen” in the German language! :bulb:

"Kennen" is typically used when you talk about knowing a person, object or place. It is usually followed by a noun or pronoun .

:pencil2:Examples with kennen:

  • Ich kenne diese Person. (I know this person.)

  • Ich kenne dich. (I know you.)

  • Kennst du Susanne? ( Do you know Susanne?)

  • Ich kenne den Ort. Ich war schon einmal da. (I know the place. I have been there before)

  • Ich kenne das Buch. Ich habe es gelesen. ( I know the book. I have read it.)

Wissen” is typically used to talk about knowing or having certain information and knowledge.
It is usually followed by an accessory sentence (Nebensatz)

:pencil2:Examples with wissen:

  • Ich weiß, wie du heißt. ( I know your name)

  • Weißt du, wer sie ist? (Do you know who she is?)

  • Ich weiß das. Ich habe es an der Universität gelernt. ( I know that. I learned this at university)

  • Ich weiß etwas, was du nicht weißt. ( I know something you don’t know.)

  • Weißt du, wie man das schreibt? ( Do you know how to write this ?)

Kennen vs Wissen- in comparison: :bulb:

  • Ich weiß viel über ihn. (I know a lot about him.)

    Aber ich kenne ihn nicht persönlich. ( But I don’t know him personally. )

  • Ich kenne das Restaurant nicht. Ich war noch nie da. ( I don’t know the restaurant. I’ve never been there.)
    Aber ich weiß, dass es sehr beliebt ist. ( But I know it’s very popular.)

I hope my explanation helped! :blush:
Further examples or explanations from my colleagues are welcome :dizzy:


To all French speakers. It is pretty much the same as in French with savoir and connaitre. At least that is what I came to realize while learning French.


This is so helpful, Danke schön @Kristyna :blush:.

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Sehr gerne Sandra :blush:

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@Kristyna Thanks for your excellent explanation!

Here’s a little detail. When you want to emphasize that you just “know” somebody from the internet, you’d use “wissen”.

Here’s an example:

  • Ich weiß, wer Barack Obama ist. (I know who Barack Obama is.)
  • Ich kenne Barack Obama. (I know Barack Obama (but you didn’t meet him necessarily)).

Thank you for sharing :four_leaf_clover: :+1: @SKrausser

Hi Kristyna

That’s so well explained. Thank you so much, it’s very helpful :slight_smile:

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Dankeschön @Kristyna :blush:

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I struggled with remembering which to use in what context. That was solved when I cam up with the memory aid…

“Ich weiß wer er ist, aber ich kenne ihn nicht”

For which the english would be…

“I know who he is but I don’t know him”

From the German perspective I now see why they might find this difficult!