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Know, know of

     
     

Question

: “I DON’T know him but I knew of him.”

This sentence somehow interests me so much that I always keep it in my notes. With regard to the clause “but I knew of him”, could you explain the grammatical process that happens here?

How is it that by using the past tense form of “know”, someone will understand that he or she does not know “him” but is aware of “him”?

 

 

   

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( English teacher )

  It is not the past tense that makes the difference, but the preposition “of”.

The sentence could easily be all in the present tense, i.e. “I don’t know him but I know of him.” This means you are not acquainted with “him”, have never spoken to “him” (“don’t know him”) but you are aware of “his” existence and some of the things he does (“know of him”).

     
 
 
 

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