Buscar in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses


In this short guide, we will cover the following topics for ‘buscar’ in Spanish:

  1. What does ‘Buscar’ mean?
  2. Buscar Conjugations
  3. How to Use ‘Buscar’ in Spanish
  4. Expressions & Idioms with ‘Buscar’
  5. Synonyms of ‘Buscar’ in Spanish

What does ‘Buscar’ mean?

Definition – The verb ‘buscar’ in Spanish means ‘to find’ or ‘to locate’ a person, place or thing. It can also be used to explain that someone is going somewhere to pick up something or someone else. Buscar is more commonly translated as ‘to search’, ‘to look for’ or ‘to seek’. 

  1. When expressing that a person is trying to find something or someone, buscar means ‘to search’, ‘to look for’ or ‘to seek’. 
  2. If talking about picking up a person or thing, it means ‘to collect’, to get’, or ‘to pick up’. 

‘Buscar’ Conjugations 

‘Buscar’ in Spanish is a regular verb. However, in order to keep the pronunciation, some tenses such as preterite, present subjunctive and imperative will have a spelling change from ‘C’ to ‘QU’.

graphic showing buscar stem changes in spanish

Below are some conjugation charts that will help you understand how to conjugate ‘buscar’ in Spanish. 

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

In Spanish, buscar is a regular verb. For this tense, you’ll use the stem ‘busc’ for all the subjects just like it appears on the table below.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YobuscoI look for
buscasYou look for
Él / Ella / UstedbuscaHe/She looks for
NosotrosbuscamosWe look for
VosotrosbuscáisYou look for
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasbuscanThey/You look for

Preterite tense conjugation

When it comes to conjugating ‘buscar’ to preterite tense, notice that yo has some spelling changes. In other words, the ‘c’ will change to ‘qu’ to preserve the pronunciation. For the rest of the subjects, you’ll keep using the regular stem ‘busc’.  

PersonConjugationTranslation
YobusquéI looked for
buscasteYou looked for
Él / Ella / UstedbuscóHe/She looked for
NosotrosbuscamosWe looked for
VosotrosbuscasteisYou looked for
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasbuscaronThey/You looked for

Imperfect tense conjugation

In the imperfect tense, ‘buscar’ is regular. This means that, after eliminating ‘-AR’, you’ll add the proper endings to the stem ‘busc’. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YobuscabaI looked for
buscabasYou looked for
Él / Ella / UstedbuscabaHe/She looked for
NosotrosbuscábamosWe looked for
VosotrosbuscabaisYou looked for
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasbuscabanThey/You looked for

Future tense conjugation

In Spanish, to conjugate both the future and conditional tense, add the corresponding endings to the infinitive form ‘buscar’. The endings that form the future tense are underlined in the table below. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YobuscaréI will look for
buscarásYou will look for
Él / Ella / UstedbuscaráHe/She will look for
NosotrosbuscaremosWe will look for
VosotrosbuscaréisYou will look for
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasbuscaránThey/You will look for

Conditional tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YobuscaríaI would look for
buscaríasYou would look for
Él / Ella / UstedbuscaríaHe/She would look for
NosotrosbuscaríamosWe would look for
VosotrosbuscaríaisYou would look for
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasbuscaríanThey/You would look for

Progressive Tenses

Sandy estuvo buscándote toda la mañana.
Sandy was looking for you all morning.

Perfect Tenses

No he buscado el libro que me dijiste.
I haven’t looked for the book you told me.

Creo que ya habíamos buscado aquí.
I think we have already looked here.

Buscar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

In the Spanish present subjunctive, the stem busc will change to busqu to preserve the pronunciation. Notice that this change is applied to all the subjects so you just need to add the corresponding endings. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
YobusqueTo look for
busquesTo look for
Él / Ella / UstedbusqueTo look for
NosotrosbusquemosTo look for
VosotrosbusquéisTo look for
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasbusquenTo look for

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

Given that ‘buscar’ is regular in most tenses. To conjugate this verb in the imperfect subjunctive, you’ll use the regular stem busc and conjugate by using the corresponding endings for each subject.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoBuscara / buscaseI looked for
Buscaras / buscasesYou looked for
Él / Ella / UstedBuscara / buscaseHe/She looked for
NosotrosBuscáramos / buscásemosWe looked for
VosotrosBuscarais / buscaseisYou looked for
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasBuscaran / buscasenThey/You looked for

Perfect subjunctive

Espero que hayas buscado bien la información.
I hope you have looked for the information thoroughly.

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

‘Buscar’ in imperative uses two stems. For and vosotros we use the regular stem ‘busc’, while for nosotros and ustedes use ‘busqu’ instead. Remember that these spelling changes are made to keep the pronunciation consistent. 

PersonConjugationTranslation
buscaYou look for
NosotrosbusquemosWe look for
VosotrosbuscadYou look for
UstedesbusquenThey/You look for

Take Note: In order to build the negative imperative, you’ll follow the present subjunctive conjugation. Just make sure to add No before the conjugated verb.

No busquen el serrucho en el cuarto de herramientas, lo olvidé en casa de mi tía
Do not look for the saw in the tool room, I forgot it at my aunt’s house.

How to Use ‘Buscar’ in Spanish with Examples

There are two main ways that you can use ‘buscar’ in Spanish:

  1. To say ‘to search’ or ‘to locate’ someone or something
  2. Describing that someone collects another person or thing

In the following sections I’ll explain how to use ‘buscar’ in these contexts in greater depth. Additionally, I’ll provide you with phrase structures that you can use in each one of these situations along with some real-life examples. 

To talk about searching or locating a person, place or thing

Given that is the direct translation of to search, to seek and to look for, in Spanish, we use ‘buscar’ to express that a person is searching or looking for a person, place or thing. Notice that there are two main phrase structures that you can use depending on what you’re looking for. 

[Buscar conjugated] + (determiner) + [noun]

Carlos buscó información sobre México.
Carlos searched information about Mexico.

Laura me pidió que buscara el número de Patty.
Laura asked me to look for Patty’s phone number.

Buscaré trabajo para estas vacaciones de verano.
I will look for a job during summer vacation.

Notice that if you want to use buscar to refer to another person or animal, you will need to use the following phrase structure:

[Buscar conjugated] + a + [noun]

Mamá, esta señora busca a mi tía.
Mom, this lady is looking for my aunt.

Mi vecina buscó a su gato toda la noche.
My neighbor looked for her cat all night. 

Take Note: If it’s clear who you’re referring to, you don’t need to follow the above structure. In these cases, you’ll replace the preposition (a) and the noun for a direct object pronoun. 

[Direct object pronoun] + [buscar conjugated]

¿Dónde estabas? Te buscamos por todos lados. 
Where were you? We looked for you everywhere.

Describing that someone collect another person or thing

Another common use of buscar is to describe that a person is picking up or collecting something or someone. Notice that in this case, you need to use the verb ir and ‘buscar’ will work as an auxiliary verb. Check the phrase structure and the examples below: 

[Ir conjugated] + a + [buscar] + [complement]

Mi papá irá a buscarte al aeropuerto.
My dad will go pick you up at the airport.

Buenas tardes, vengo a buscar mi coche.
Good afternoon, I’m here to get my car.

Juan fue a buscar a tu hermana.
Juan went to pick your sister up.

Buscar Expressions & Idioms

Below there are some common expressions with buscar that can help you improve your Spanish conversations. 

Buscarle tres pies al gato: This expression is often used to express that people shouldn’t over complicate simple things. It’s close in meaning to ‘split hairs’. 

Buscarse la vida: In Spanish, buscarse la vida describes that a person needs to find the way or means to survive. It usually expresses that someone had to deal with setbacks and adversity. This expression can be translated as ‘to make a living’ or ‘earn a living’. 

Buscársela: It means that due to their behaviour or actions, people attract problems or some type of consequences. As a result, ‘buscársela’ can be translated as ‘to ask for it’, ‘to look for trouble’ or ‘to ask for trouble’. In Dominican Republic and Venezuela, this expression means managing to find the means of subsistence.

Buscar una aguja en un pajar: This phrase refers to something that is very difficult to find or a task that seems almost impossible to perform. It is translated as ‘looking for a needle in a haystack’.

Synonyms of ‘Buscar’ in Spanish

Investigar: Translated as ‘to investigate’, this verb is used in a formal or academic context. It means to carry out a systematic inquiry to discover something, to go deeper in the study of a discipline.

Averiguar: In Spanish, this verb means to discover certain things about a topic by inquiring or doing what is necessary to get it. It can be translated as ‘to find out’.

Indagar: This verb in Spanish is used when trying to acquire knowledge about something by reflecting on it, by asking questions or by seeking evidence. It can be translated as ‘to inquire’.

Recoger: For certain situations, this verb in Spanish can be used when talking about picking up or collecting someone, usually in one’s car. It is translated as ‘to pick up’.

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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