Comprar in Spanish: Conjugations, Meanings & Uses


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

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

What does ‘Comprar’ mean?

The verb ‘comprar’ refers to someone getting something in exchange for money. As a result, ‘comprar’ means ‘to buy’ or ‘to purchase’ and in more specific situations it can be translated as ‘to bribe’ or ‘to buy off’.

  1. When talking about purchases, ‘comprar’ means ‘to buy’, ‘to purchase’ or ‘to shop’.
  2. To describe a situation where someone offers money or valuable things to another person to get a benefit, usually in an illegal way, ‘comprar’ means ‘to bribe’ or ‘to buy off’.

‘Comprar’ Conjugations 

‘Comprar’ is a regular -ar verb, which means that the stem for most tenses and subjects will be ‘compr’. Given that the future and the conditional tense are conjugated with the verb in the infinitive form, instead of the stem.

Indicative

Present tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoComproI buy
ComprasYou buy
Él / Ella / UstedCompraHe/She buys
NosotrosCompramosWe buy
VosotrosCompráisYou buy
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCompranThey/You buy

Preterite tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoCompréI bought
ComprasteYou bought
Él / Ella / UstedCompróHe/She bought
NosotrosCompramosWe bought
VosotrosComprasteisYou bought
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCompraronThey/You bought

Imperfect tense conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoComprabaI bought
ComprabasYou bought
Él / Ella / UstedComprabaHe/She bought
NosotrosComprábamosWe bought
VosotrosComprabaisYou bought
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasComprabanThey/You bought

Future tense conjugation

To conjugate ‘comprar’ to the future tense you’ll need to add the corresponding endings to the infinitive verb.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoCompraréI will buy
ComprarásYou will buy
Él / Ella / UstedCompraráHe/She will buy
NosotrosCompraremosWe will buy
VosotrosCompraréisYou will buy
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCompraránThey/You will buy

Conditional tense conjugation

This tense is also conjugated by adding the corresponding endings to the infinitive verb.

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoCompraríaI would buy
CompraríasYou would buy
Él / Ella / UstedCompraríaHe/She would buy
NosotrosCompraríamosWe would buy
VosotrosCompraríaisYou would buy
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCompraríanThey/You would buy

Progressive Tenses

conjugation chart showing how to conjugate comprar in continuous tenses in spanish

Estoy comprando los boletos por internet.
I am buying the tickets online.

Me encontré a mis amigos mientras estaban comprando ropa.
I ran into my friends while they were shopping for clothes.

Perfect Tenses

graphic showing how to conjugate comprar in perfect tenses in spanish

No he comprado cuadernos desde que salí de la universidad.
I haven’t bought notebooks since I got out of college.

¿Dónde están todos los platos que habíamos comprado?
Where are all the dishes we had bought?

Comprar Subjunctive Conjugations

Present subjunctive conjugation

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoCompreTo buy
CompresTo buy
Él / Ella / UstedCompreTo buy
NosotrosCompremosTo buy
VosotrosCompréisTo buy
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasComprenTo buy

Imperfect subjunctive conjugations

PersonConjugationTranslation
YoComprara / CompraseI bought
Compraras / ComprasesYou bought
Él / Ella / UstedComprara / CompraseHe/She bought
NosotrosCompráramos / ComprásemosWe bought
VosotrosComprarais / CompraseisYou bought
Ustedes / Ellos / EllasCompraran / ComprasenThey/You bought

Perfect subjunctive

graphic showing how to conjugate comprar in perfect subjunctive in spanish

Tienes que deshacerte de todo lo que hayas comprado hace más de diez años.
You have to get rid of everything that you bought over ten years ago.

Hubieras comprado ese vestido cuando estaba en oferta.
You should have bought that dress when it was on sale.

Imperative

Imperative conjugation

The stem for the affirmative imperative form of ‘comprar’ is regular, however, in its negative imperative form, and vosotros use the present subjunctive conjugation, preceded by the word No.

PersonConjugationTranslation
CompraBuy
NosotrosCompremosLet’s buy
VosotrosCompradBuy
UstedesComprenBuy

[‘Comprar’ imperative] + [complement]

Compren cereal, ya no hay en la casa.
Buy some cereal, we don’t have any left at home.

No + [‘comprar’ in present subjunctive] + [complement]

No compres cosas que no necesites.
Don’t buy things you don’t need.

How to Use ‘Comprar’ in Spanish with Examples

In Spanish, there are two main meanings of ‘comprar’. Although they might seem very similar, each meaning is applied in a different context: 

  1. To talk about purchases
  2. Describing a bribery

In the sections below you’ll be able to see how to use this verb in conversations through examples and explanations of how the sentences should be formed.

To talk about purchases

When talking about a person acquiring goods or services, ‘comprar’ means ‘to buy’ or ‘to purchase’.

[‘Comprar’ conjugated] + [complement]

Ana y Frida compraron los boletos para el concierto.
Ana and Frida bought the tickets for the concert.

¿Qué compró mi mamá en la tienda?
What did my mom buy in the story?

Diana compraría una suscripción a ese canal si no fuera tan caro.
Diana would buy a subscription to that channel if it weren’t so expensive.

In Spanish, ‘comprar’ is a pronominal verb, which means in some cases you’ll need to use reflexive or indirect pronouns to talk about things that someone buys to another person or to oneself.

[Indirect pronoun] + [‘comprar’ conjugated] + [complement] 

Melanie me compró un regalo de cumpleaños.
Melanie bought me a birthday present.

Gabriela le comprará una nueva computadora a su hijo.
Gabriela will buy her son a new computer.

Te compré estas flores. 
I bought you these flowers

[‘Comprar’ in infinitive form] + [reflexive pronoun] + [complement]

Voy a comprarme unos nuevos zapatos.
I’m going to buy myself some new shoes.

Sheila fue a comprarse unos chocolates. 
Sheila went to buy herself some chocolates.

Related Resource: How to Buy in Spanish | Spanish Phrases to Shop

Describing a bribery

When describing someone that is illicitly or unfairly offering money or valuable things to another person to get some kind of benefit, ‘comprar’ means ‘to bribe’ or ‘to buy off’.

[‘Comprar’ conjugated] + a + [complement]

Daniel compró al profesor con una botella de vino.
Daniel bribed the professor with a bottle of wine.

Se libró de una multa comprando al tránsito.
He got rid of a fine by bribing a traffic officer.

To describe a person or situation that has accepted bribery, you’ll need to use the past participle of ‘comprar’ as an adjective.

(Noun) + [‘estar’ conjugated] + [past participle of ‘comprar’]

Este árbitro está comprado.
This referee was bribed.

Las elecciones estuvieron compradas.
The elections were bought off.

Comprar Expressions & Idioms

There are very useful expressions and idioms that use this verb and can help you have a better understanding of the different ways in which you can apply ‘comprar’.

Comprar a plazos refers to a type of purchase in which the person makes small payments over a period of time. It means ‘to pay in installments’.

Comprar por comprar is used to describe a person that buys things they don’t need. It can be translated as ‘to buy for the sake of buying’.

Comprar el mandado means ‘to go grocery shopping’.

Synonyms of ‘Comprar’ in Spanish

Adquirir refers to a person obtaining something new. Its direct translation is ‘to acquire’ and it’s very formal so it’s not frequently used.

Sobornar translates as ‘to bribe’ and it’s used in more formal conversations and contexts.

Ir de compras means ‘to go shopping’. It usually describes someone shopping for things that are not essential like clothes or makeup.

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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