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If "no" means "no", and if "se" means "is", why does "no sé" mean "I don't know"?

This has been a bit of stumbling block for me as I learn the language. I as learn how to learn, I like to know the literal and the why, and I can't get my brain around why "no se" means what it does.

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What do you mean with if "se" means "is"...? –  Alenanno Dec 5 '11 at 17:06
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@rynomax Welcome to Stack Exchange! Unfortunately, spelling error questions are not really the kinds of questions we seek on this site. We're glad you got an answer, but I'm going to go ahead and close this question. –  Aarthi Dec 5 '11 at 17:07
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I don't think this is a spelling error question, but I think that this is definitely too simple. –  Richard Dec 5 '11 at 20:35
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@Richard: It looks to me like a spelling error, because while "se" does not mean "is", "es" does... But at any rate, it is some class of error, and not a good question. :) –  Flimzy Dec 6 '11 at 1:41
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closed as not constructive by Aarthi Dec 5 '11 at 17:06

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1 Answer

The reason is because "" is the present conjugation of the verb "saber" for the pronoun "Yo", and "no" is the way to negate a verb in spanish. Therefore "no sé" (Yo no sé.) is "I don't know".

The conjugation depends of the pronoun. It is very common to ommit the subject. For example:

No sabemos. (Nosotro no sabemos)

No sabe (El no sabe)

Se que tengo que ir mañana al trabajo (Yo se...).

Check the conjugation of the verb "saber".

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Thank you so much. This is really helpful. Could you use the other present tense versions of saber instead of ? –  rynomax Dec 5 '11 at 17:00
    
Yes, you could say, "El hombre no sabe," to say, "The man does not know." –  Aarthi Dec 5 '11 at 17:14
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