Forum Rocket Spanish Spanish - Grammar "Saber qué" vs. "Saber lo que"

"Saber qué" vs. "Saber lo que"



Hi 14.2 33.58

no sabemos que haremos 


could i have used lo que . 


if not , why 




¡Hola VR143!

(I've split this out into a new thread so that it's easier for others to find too.)

Indeed, you could say either No sabemos qué haremos or No sabemos lo que haremos for “(We) don't know what (we) will do.” The only difference is in their literal translations, where the first version is “(We) don't know what (we) will do” and the second is “(We) don't know that which (we) will do.”

¡Hasta la próxima!




Hi Liss,

LO QUE, qué, que

Can you help 

i use qué before an infin . No sé qué hacer

i use que , no accent mark , no sé que hacer con todo la comida

is con todo la comida the object in the second clause i keep reading about?

what does it mean object in second clause , sorry about this , but i am not the cleverest .


i use lo que , no sabía lo que querías . I did not know what you wanted.

i use que , no accent mark , no sabía que querías comer algo or algo de comer 

i didn't know that you wanted to eat something / something to eat  ( hope i got these right)


sorry for all the examples ( would like your opinion on if they are ok) but now i get to the one that bothers me.


i did not know WHAT you wanted to eat  & i did not know THAT you wanted to eat 

If i use like above i did not know what you wanted i would use lo que

but because of COMER , is this the object in the second clause that i am not sure about , if so 

would i need to use QUE . 

So whats your opinion 

no sabía que querías comer or no sabía lo que querías comer, que  or lo que  for both what and that 

or maybe lo que for the what and que for the that ?  

Sorry if this is confusing for you , I've confused myself.




¡Hola VR143!

I've broken my answer up into a few sections below.

1. When you need an accent on que

Whether or not the word que comes before an infinitive actually isn't what determines if you need to have an accent on it. It all depends on whether you're making an exclamation or using a direct or indirect question. The sentences No sé qué hacer “(I) don't know what to do” and No sé qué hacer con toda la comida “(I) don't know what to do with all the food” both require an accented qué because both sentences are indirect questions. (Note also that we need to use the feminine toda “all” in the second sentence because it's describing la comida “the food.”)

You can find a full explanation on indirect questions and accents in Lesson 17.8: “Asking Indirectly” that should help to clear all of this up!

2. Object in the second clause

I'm afraid I can't help with this question yet, as I'm not sure what you mean by the object in the second clause that you keep reading about. Could you tell me which lesson you've read this in? I should be able to help once I have the context!

3. Que, qué, and lo que

Like we were saying above in the earlier post, both qué and lo que can be used to mean “what,” so you can use either one when saying something like “I didn't know what you wanted to eat”; the difference is again in the literal meaning of each sentence. Using que without the accent, on the other hand, would indeed mean “that” in the sort of sentences you've outlined. 

So here are the three sentences, with their literal and not-so-literal translations:

No sabía que querías comer algo / algo de comer. 
“(I) didn't know that (you) wanted to eat something / something to eat.”

No sabía qué querías comer. 
“(I) didn't know what (you) wanted to eat.” (literally: "(I) didn't know what (you) wanted to eat.")

No sabía lo que querías comer. 
“(I) didn't know what (you) wanted to eat.”(literally: "(I) didn't know that which (you) wanted to eat.")

Another lesson on a related topic that might be very helpful (in addition to Lesson 17.8) is Lesson 12.8: “'That,' ‘Which,’ and ‘Who.’” 

I hope that I have covered all of your questions! Do let me know about point #2 above, so that we can sort this one out for you as well.

Hasta luego,


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