I explain three phrasal verbs with “know:” “know from,” “know of,” and “know about.”

Contents:

Know from

1. “Know (someone/something) from (someone/something) – To understand the difference between two people or things.

“From” as a preposition indicates a distinction or to show a difference between two people or things.

  • “I know I make mistakes but I know right from wrong.”
  • “Eve drove me to work the other day. I’m not sure she knows the brake pedal from the accelerator.
Similar phrasal verbs: “Know from” or “Tell from”

“Tell (somebody/something) from (somebody/something)” means “to recognise the difference between two people or things.”

Although they are similar and are often used interchangeably, using “know” usually implies a better knowledge and understanding of the subject.

  • “Most people wouldn’t know red wine from white wine in a blind taste test.”
  • “Most people can’t tell red wine from white wine in a blind taste test.”

Know of

1.   “Know of (someone/something)” – (inseparable) To be aware of someone or something.
  • “Do you know of any good mechanic nearby?”
  • “I only know of one other person who’s a teddy bear surgeon.”
Similar phrasal verbs: “Know of” or “Know about”

“Know about” implies what and how much you know about somebody or something, and usually refers to subjects or issues.

“Know of” implies whether you have heard of or know that somebody or something exists.

  • “I know of her. But to be honest I don’t know much.”
  • “I know quite a bit about her. I follow her on YouTube.”
2.   To know someone or something without any direct contact or experience with them or it.
  • “Do you know Wally?”
    • “No, but I know of him. He was the department head before I joined.”
Similar expressions: “Know of” or “Know”

Know” can mean to have information or to be familiar with a person or place.

a. When referring to information, “know of” and “know” are interchangeable.
  • “Do you know any good mechanic nearby?”
  • “Do you know of any good mechanic nearby?”
  • “I know a good mechanic I can recommend.”
  • “I know of a good mechanic I can recommend.”
b. When referring to familiarity, “know of” and “know” are not interchangeable.
  • “I know of Wally.”
    This implies I have heard of him and have had no direct contact or experience with him.
  • “I know Wally.”
    This implies I know him well or I am familiar with him.

  • Know about

    This is not really a phrasal verb. “About” is as a preposition to refer to a subject. This is included to explain how this is properly used and to differentiate from “know from” and “know of.”

    1.   “Know about (somebody/something)” – (inseparable) To be knowledgeable about, familiar with, or understand a subject.
    • “What does Google know about me?”
    • “Can you tell me what you know about today’s lesson?”
    a. With quantifiers – e.g. “something,” “anything,” “a little,” etc.
    • “I know something about gardening.”
    • “He really doesn’t know much about dating.”
    2.   “Know about (somebody/something)” – (inseparable) To be aware of someone or something, especially an issue or concern.
    • “I’m sure our boss knows about all the toilet paper you’ve been stealing.”
    • “I don’t know why she hasn’t left yet. She’s known about the mistress for a while now.”

    Not that I know of
    – (idiom) Used for answering that you think something is true, but you are not completely certain.

    • “Do you know if he’s married?”
      • Not that I know of.”

    Get to know (someone/something)”
    – (expression) To take the time to be familiar with someone or something.

    • “It’s a good idea to get to know each other first before taking the next step in a relationship.”

    I don’t know about you but…
    – (informal expression) To express your opinion, decision or suggestion when you’re not sure the person you’re talking to will feel the same way.

    • I don’t know about you but I’m glad 2020 is almost over.”

    Original post: 18 December 2020

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