HOME > WordMaster® > KNOW vs. KNOW OF | よく知っている vs. 〜の存在を知っている

@Work
2004.04.02

Here's an example of a subtle difference in meaning that's not obvious until you gain enough experience with English.

Today's Lesson
KNOW vs. KNOW OF   よく知っている vs. 〜の存在を知っている

Explanation

  • If I say that I know  Jack, it means that I've met or had conversations with him. If I say that I know of  Jack it means that I am aware of his existence. The same expression can be used for information. If you know  French it means that you can speak French. If you know of  French it means that you are aware that a language called French exists.
  • I know  Jack と言ったら、Jack に会ったことがある、とか、会話をしたことがある、ということを意味しています。I know of  Jack と言ったら、Jack という人がいることを知っている、という意味になります。同じようにある情報を知っている、と言う場合についてもこの表現が使えます。例えば you know  French と言ったら、フランス語がしゃべれる、という意味で、you know of  French だったら、フランス語という言葉があることを知っている、という意味になります。

examples

  1. (one new employee to another)
    a: Do you know  the Director of Marketing?
    b: No, I've never met him, but I know of  him.
  2. Of course, I know of  the improvements that are being made to our product, but if you have time I'd like you to explain them to me in more detail.
  3. (one legal partner to another)
    a: Do you know  about the crisis with Jones deal?
    b: I know of  it but I'm afraid I'm not familiar with any of the details.
  4. I've never worked in the Human Resources Department, but I know of  the work that's done there.

The expression  know of is very useful for creating distance between yourself and a problem. It allows you to admit some familiarity with the situation while at the same time saying that you have nothing to do with it.