Buscar: Spanish Verb Conjugation

Looking up words in a dictionary is probably the most common thing you do when learning a foreign language, isn’t it? Have you tried looking up the word buscar in Spanish before? If so, you know what it means. If you haven’t, there are some things you need to know about this useful verb. It translates as “to look for,” “to search,” “to look up,” “to seek,” and “to pick up,” as well as others.

While the conjugation for this verb is regular in terms of pronunciation; it is somewhat irregular in its spelling for the preterite tense. Here are common conjugations for buscar.

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Conjugation of Buscar

Present Tense

Yo

busco

Nosotros

buscamos

buscas

Vosotros

buscáis

Él/Ella/Ud.

busca

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

buscan

Example sentence:

Esto es lo que busco en un amigo. -- This is what I look for in a friend.

Imperfect Tense

Yo

buscaba

Nosotros

buscábamos

buscabas

Vosotros

buscabais

Él/Ella/Ud.

buscaba

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

buscaban

Example sentence:

No, no creo que esa talla sirva. Yo buscaba una talla más grande. -- No, I don’t think that’s the right size. I was looking for a bigger size.

Preterite Tense

Yo

busqué

Nosotros

buscamos

buscaste

Vosotros

buscasteis

Él/Ella/Ud.

buscó

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

buscaron

Example sentence:

Busqué un mejor lugar para vivir. -- I looked for a better place to live.

Notice how the c in the first person changes to qu. In Spanish, when the letter c is followed by an e; the consonant is pronounced as an s. In order for it to retain the original c /k/ sound from the infinitive form, it requires this particular spelling change.

Future Tense

Yo

buscaré

Nosotros

buscaremos

buscarás

Vosotros

buscaréis

Él/Ella/Ud.

buscará

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

buscarán

Example sentence:

Tu mamá nos buscará a las 8:30pm. -- Your mom will pick us up at 8:30 pm.

Conditional Tense

Yo

buscaría

Nosotros

buscaríamos

buscaríamos

Vosotros

buscaríais

Él/Ella/Ud.

buscaría

Ellos/Ellas/Uds.

buscarían

Example sentence:

No buscaría complacer a todo el mundo si no tuviera ese trabajo. -- He wouldn’t try to please everyone if he didn’t have that job.

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Additional Usage Examples with Buscar

Busqué a tu hermano pero no pude encontrarlo. -- I searched for your brother but I couldn’t find him.

Ella busca libro en español. -- She is looking for a book in Spanish.

¿Qué busca? -- What are you looking for?

Se busca profesor de francés. -- French teacher wanted.

Notice how buscar is used in the last sentence. This is known as pasiva refleja in Spanish, and it is used in a similar way to the passive voice in English.

Idiomatic Expressions with Buscar

Learning the verb buscar means you will eventually come across phrases, or idiomatic expressions that contain it. It is useful to know what some of these phrases meant. Here are a couple examples:

  • Buscar una aguja en un pajar. -- To look for a needle in a haystack.
  • El que busca, encuentra. -- He who seeks shall find.

Seek and You Will Find

As seen, buscar is a very versatile word you definitely want to have in your repertoire of Spanish verbs. Its conjugation is fairly basic but you have to remember there is an important spelling change in the preterite tense. Learn this and you will be good to go.