Spanish Language/Grammer


Good mornming,  My question is as follows.  Why do I see for example. Yo lo se interpreted as I know when it appears Yo se would suffice?  To me there appears to be a redundancy in the utilization of pronouns in the spanish language.  Perhaps a simple answer but somenthing I missed along the way.

Thank in advance for your help

Dear David,

Thank you very much for your question.

There is in fact a very subtle difference between the use of 'no lo sé' and 'no sé' although many times, the two can indeed be interchangeable.

Typically, no lo sé is a standalone phrase. The 'lo' is a preposition meaning 'it' so commonly no lo sé will be a response to a previous piece of information. Rather than repeat the same piece of information again, we can just substitute it by the 'lo'.

For example:
¿Sabes a qué hora sale el tren?
No lo sé (a qué hora sale el tren)

If you were to use 'no sé' without the preposition, it would have to be followed by something else to make proper sense. Although it is being used more and more nowadays, it is typically grammatically incorrect to just say 'no sé' without following it with another piece of information.

For example:
¿Dónde está Juan?
No sé dónde está OR no lo sé BUT NOT no lo sé dónde está

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Spanish Language

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I consider myself a native speaker in Spanish after studying the language for many years, using it on a daily basis at home and having last year obtained my DELE C2 - the highest possible qualification in Spanish from the Instituto Cervantes. I am very confident to answer any questions about the Spanish language. I can also answer specific questions related to Andalucia and the Andalucian dialect as I have a profound knowledge of this area.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) C2 (Native Level) DELE Diploma from Instituto Cervantes Grade A A-level in Spanish My partner is Spanish so Spanish is the main language spoken at home. I also spend many months in Spain (Andalucia) each year with my in-laws. I have translated and proofread many Spanish documents including CVs for art academies and translations of GCSE papers from French to Spanish for ZigZag Education.

El Pensador, Bristol University

MA Applied Linguistics BA Hons Modern Language Studies DELE C2 in Spanish. CILS C1 in Italian CELTA qualified A Level Spanish

©2017 All rights reserved.