Okay so I suddenly have no idea how to say the imperative of saber.

This was my reasoning until arriving to a comical dead end:

Ir = Ve

Comer = Come

Ser = Sé

Saber = Se? Sabé? Sepe!?

Per answers the correct form is Sabe.

But sabe isn't used at all! People never use it! People rather say "Debes saber que..." or some other form. not like other verbs as ir "Ve ya." Why is that??

  • As I explained in my edited and enhanced answer, the imperative form sabe it is, in fact, used. Dec 7 '11 at 17:09
  • Well it's not used in English either. You could order somebody to know something but it's hard to act on such an order. "Know the answer!" Dec 8 '11 at 13:32
  • 1
    I disagree... I think it is fairly used in english, for instance: "Know that I will chase you down to the seventh hell"
    – Joze
    Dec 8 '11 at 13:44

As far as I know, the imperative form doesn't change with or without pronoun.

From the conjugation of Spanish Saber verb, you have this:

sabe (tú)
sabé (vos)
sabed (vosotros)
sepan (ustedes)

And regarding singular second person, formal form:

sepa (usted)

Even though these forms do exist, in real life they're not often used.

To express the idea of imperative regarding verb saber, you should use instead, for example:

Tienes que saber cómo escribir.
Debes saber cómo escribir.
Te conviene saber cómo escribir.

  • This is temporarily accepted as answer until someone can provide a reason why this form isn't used in this particular case.
    – Joze
    Dec 7 '11 at 13:39
  • @Joze: You are, of course, free to accept any answer you like, and based on whatever criteria you like. But generally, I would encourage waiting until you feel the question is fully addressed before accepting one, as an accepted answer often has the effect of discouraging new answers. If you want Nicholás to flesh out his answer more, you can ask him to do so in comments. You can also post a bounty for your question if you feel it needs more attention.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 7 '11 at 20:03
  • @Flimzy: Thanks, you are right, didn't thought about it like that.
    – Joze
    Dec 8 '11 at 13:45

I think others have already explained the correct form of the imperative, but I want to point out that the imperative of "saber" is never used in practice in the second-person singular ("sabe"). In fact I never knew it even existed before reading this thread. You can use "Que sepas que..." instead.

  • Thanks for the answer. Que sepas que is rather conditional IMO and that's exactly the question, why is it used for Usted and not for the second person??
    – Joze
    Dec 7 '11 at 13:50
  • I knew that was the question but I wanted to say the form that I think it is usually replaced with. As for why it's not used, it's a very interesting question but I have no idea actually.
    – david
    Dec 7 '11 at 13:55
  • Yes, the imperative form sabe is used; see my answer ;-) Dec 7 '11 at 17:21
  • No, it's not; see my answer ;-)
    – david
    Dec 14 '11 at 17:06

The imperative forms of saber are:

tú: sabe.

usted: sepa.

vosotros: sabed.

ustedes: sepan.

The second person sabe seems strange to some people, but it is used: in Dias y Flores (a well know song by the Cuban Silvio Rodríguez) we have:

Sabe que dentro tengo un tesoro que me llega a la raíz..."

(which it's sometimes misunderstood as "sabes que dentro tengo un tesoro...").

Why are those the imperative forms of the verb? Well, there's really nothing strange here; morphologically speaking, saber is an example of a model verb of the second conjugation, so its imperative forms are obtained according to the rules for model verbs of the second conjugation.

  • Does sabe sound correct to you? "Sabe lo que soy" Shouldn't it have tilde???
    – Joze
    Dec 7 '11 at 13:21
  • 2
    @Jose that wouldn't be interpretated as imperative, it would be interpretated as present because you're saying (él) sabe lo que soy. I have never heard anybody using "saber" in imperative mode as "sabe tú", but it's correct (and doesn't need tilde). You can check it here: buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=saber
    – Javi
    Dec 7 '11 at 13:29
  • @Javi your link is only the definition. It doesn't explain the imperative or why it isn't used. It may be correct as "sabe tu" but problably 99% of the people will tell you its incorrect... I edited the question I wasn't very clear.
    – Joze
    Dec 7 '11 at 13:34
  • @Joze if you press the button "conjugar" there you can see the whole conjugation for the verb. Probably the problem is that "saber" is not a verb which is used often in imperative mode (specially with the pronoun tú(you))
    – Javi
    Dec 7 '11 at 13:37
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    @Gonzalo Medina In my honest opinion, after reading the lyrics I'd understood "Sabe que dentro tengo un tesoro" as "(ella) sabe que dentro tengo un tesoro" which is present of indicative, not imperative. Anyway, seeing it in a song doesn't mean that it's often used.
    – Javi
    Dec 8 '11 at 19:53

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