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While watching a video with Chinese subtitles on a Chinese website, I came across this dialogue:

Approximate English gloss (leaving out unnecessary details):

A: You're XXX, right?

B: So you know who I am?

The line said by B is (no punctuation in the original):

哦 你知道我啊

In my experience (at least as a Cantonese speaker and as someone who has studied Mandarin formally for years), I would normally use 识 (e.g. in 认识, 熟识) to state that I know someone - e.g. 我识了他妹妹十几年 - and would use 知道 in the sense of "to know [some information]".

Is using 知道 in the sense in the dialogue correct? I can imagine "你知道我是谁" to be correct, but without the last two characters, I would normally see using 识 to be better usage. But it's completely possible that my usage is wrong.

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It's similar to the difference between conocer (to be familiar with, to be acquainted with) and saber (to know, to have the knowledge of) in Spanish. –  deutschZuid Jun 17 at 2:28

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Note that while 知道 can be used like that correctly, the meaning is not quite the same as 認識 - even though they both translate as "to know (a person)".

The word you normally use, 認識, is closer to the immediate meaning of "to know" here. It means "to recognise", or "to have seen before".

In contrast, 知道 means "to understand". So it carries extra connotations beyond that implied by 認識. For instance, "你知道我是谁" often means "You know who I am" with the implication of "You know what my status or position is". Similarly, "你知道我这个人" (or, I would say, "你知道我啊" in your video) means "You know what kind of person I am". That is, you might say "你知道我这个人最喜歡貓" - "You know I love cats".

You can use it in a short and curt way to minimise extra connotations, i.e. "我知道他。", which just says you know him. However, that is a lot less common than for some sort of extra knowledge to be intended (and then conveyed immediately after).

So while you can correctly use it in a sentence, the two phrases aren't quite substitutes for each other.

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知道 someone is usually to mean "heard of" someone, probably because of his or her fame, but not personally acquainted with whom.

认识 would be a better one to mean personally "know" someone.

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1  
This would have made a better choice as accepted answer, less fluff, straight to the point. –  Kovács Imre Jul 2 at 17:10

Yes, it is correct here.

And as the difference between "认识" and "知道" here, "认识" means you have met someone before, so you know him/her, and when you meet again you can recognize him/her.

"知道" means you have heard something about someone, or known someone's information by someway, but you may never meet him/her before.

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Ah that makes sense, and in context that works. Thanks! –  Maroon Jun 16 at 9:01

Yes, That's right.

And you just missed the important "哦" word in the dialog for expressing "unsatisfied" (不满) and the complete sentence means "哦, (原来)你(是)知道我(这个人)啊。"

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when you are really good at a language, you might like most native speakers who aceept any word in any understandble situation. no need to be too serious about the word itself.a language related to a culture. so i can say both are correct base on diffenrent culture background.

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"认识" means "acquaintance." That is to know someone by having met them. "知道" refers to "knowledge." That is, someone you may "know" someone by reputation, but have never met.

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