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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is...What’s the difference between 知る(shiru) and 分かる(wakaru)?
Both 知る(shiru) and 分かる(wakaru) can be translated as “to know.” So, how do you know which one to use?
Let’s go over the differences together.
知る(shiru) is used when you gain new information or knowledge. 分かる(wakaru) is used when you “understand,” “grasp,” or “comprehend” something. It’s also used when you discover something, make a judgement, or decide on a solution.
Let’s do some examples so you can learn how to use 知る(shiru) and 分かる(wakaru) correctly.
First, let’s do an example with 知る(shiru)--
駅までの道を知っています。(Eki made no michi o shitte imasu.)
This phrase means, “I know the way/route to the station.” In this situation, the route to the station is something you simply “know.” 知る(shiru) is an action verb meaning “to learn” or “to gain something new,” so when it’s used to mean “to know,” you need to use it in the -te form plus います(imasu), as in 知っています(shitte imasu)。
Now, let's do an example with 分かる(wakaru)--
この文の意味が分かりました。(Kono bun no imi ga wakarimashita.)
This phrase literally means, “I (now) understood the meaning of this sentence.” In this situation, the speaker was unable to grasp the meaning of the sentence before, but now has complete understanding of it. That’s why, in this case, we use 分かる(wakaru) in the past tense 分かりました(wakarimashita), to express that the meaning has already been understood.
How was this lesson? Did you get everything? Make sure to visit JapanesePod101.com for more practice!
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね!mata ne! See you!