The two sentences below look almost exactly the same, in both 'they' know a fact (what time the shop closes).
Presumably, then, its just that in the 2nd sentence the verb is followed by a noun and that alone determins that 'conaitre' should be used, (and it's nothing to do with 'they' knowing a fact)?
Ils savent à quelle heure le magasin ferme. They know what time the shop closes.
Ils connaissent l'horaire de fermeture du magasin.They know the shop closing time.
Normally the difference between 'Savoir' and 'Connaître' is simplified in the following way:
Savoir = to know facts
Connaître = to know people and places
But as the lesson points out it is a bit more complicated than this.
Ils savent que le magasin ferme à vingt heures = They know (that) the shop closes at eight p.m.
Ils connaissent l'heure de fermeture du magasin = They know the shop closing time
Indeed the difference here although similar in meaning is,
Savoir + que (or ce que, ce qui ...) is followed by another sentence. (You cannot say, je connais que ...)
e.g. Je sais ce qu'il va me dire = I know what he is going to tell me
Nous savons ce qu'ils préfèrent = We know what they like best
Connaître is followed by an article or a noun
e.g. Il connaît bien Marie/Paris = He knows Marie/Paris well
Vous connaîssez les Champs Elysées ? = Do you know the Champs Elysées?
Hope this helps!
I have encountered recently a very good explanation, that has closed the questions "connaitre-savoir" for me, hope this will be helpful.
Whenerver there is a subject (or a noun) following "to know" we use connaitre. Je connais l'horaire (noun) de....
In rest of cases we use savoir, e.g Ils savent a quelle heure (an expression starting with a preposition)
You can check all of the above examples, and find out that this simple rule works very well. It's been given by a French tutor to his Russian audience somewhere in internet, and i'm so thankful!
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