Forum Rocket German German Vocab Kennen vs wissen for locations

Kennen vs wissen for locations



I'm having trouble discerning wissen vs kennen for the location of a place.  The materials include examples:

Wisst ihr, wo der Bahnof ist?
Ihr kennt den Weg zum Restaurant, oder?

One uses wissen, & one uses kennen.  Locations/directions seem like they could be both "something you know" or "something you're familiar with."  Are their times when either would be acceptable--perhaps in these two examples?


You may find the following link helpful as it includes a discussion of your issue:


Thanks, that IS a bit helpful, & the “Exceptions…sorta” section speaks a bit to my confusion about this question:

Ihr kennt den Weg zum Restaurant, oder?

In my mind, following the principles described, I would choose “wisst” here.  Apparently “kennt” sounds better to a native German speaker, while “wisst” is sometimes used as well.

Another fuzzy example is:

Kennt ihr die Regeln von diesem Spiel?

Following the rules as I understand them, I would choose “wisst” here, since the rules of the game are facts.  I suspect this is another example where “kennt” sounds best to a native German speaker, while “wisst” might also be technically correct.

To add further confusion, the "something you know" vs "something you're familiar with" distinction might lead me to use different words in the following example.  As an American, I know the basics of cricket, but I know the rules for baseball in great detail.  So I might say:

I’m FAMILIAR with the rules to cricket, which would point me toward KENNEN.

But I’d say:

I KNOW the rules to baseball, which would point me toward WISSEN.

I suspect it’s just going to be a matter of hearing specific phrases enough to develop a sense of what sounds right.

Thanks again.


Hallo RobertD50 und sfpugh,

This is a tricky one! Kennen is about being familiar with someone or something and often refers to a noun or pronoun, such as
"Ihr kennt den Weg zum Restaurant, oder?" - "You  know the way to the restaurant, don't you?"
"Kennt ihr die Regeln von diesem Spiel?" - "Do you know the rules of this game?"

whereas wissen is more about knowing facts and and often has a subordinate clause starting with a question word or interrogative particle (such as wo, was, wann, wieso, warum, etc.) or a conjunction or linking word like dass which means "that".
Some examples are:
"Wisst ihr, wo der Bahnof ist?" - "Do you know where the train station is?"
"Weißt du, wann der nächste Bus fährt?" - "Do you know when the next bus leaves?"
"Ich weiß, dass das Restaurant heute geschlossen ist." - "I know that the restaurant is closed today."

There are also cases when both kennen and wissen can be used interchangeably. I understand these two words can be very confusing but it is something you will get more used to with practice. 

Viele Grüße


Thank you Julia that was helpful, especially about wissen.


Yes, thank you.  I've observed for about a week now, & watching for subordinate clauses has improved my accuracy on wissen vs kennen.  It may not be a strict rule, but it appears to be a very useful rule of thumb.

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