Using 'Buscar'

Verb Means 'To Look For,' Isn't Followed by 'Para'

Big bunch of keys
No me gusta buscar las llaves. (I don't like looking for the keys.). Plenty.r/Creative Commons.

Buscar is a fairly common verb that is usually translated "to look for." Note that, unlike the English verb "look," buscar doesn't have to be followed by a preposition; including a preposition is a fairly common mistake made by beginning Spanish students.

To avoid this confusion, you can think of buscar as meaning "to seek." Buscar is also frequently translated as "to search for."

Here are some of the common ways buscar is used:

  • buscar algo — to look for something — Busco mi lápiz. (I am looking for my pencil.)
  • buscar a alguien — to look for someone — Buscamos a Pedro. (We are looking for Peter.)
  • buscar a alguien — to pick someone up — Voy a buscar a los niños a las dos de la tarde. (I'll pick up the children at 2 p.m.)
  • buscar [infinitivo] — to look to [verb] — Buscó nadar en aguas más seguras. (He looked to swim in safer waters.)
  • se busca [nombre] — [noun] wanted — Se busca cocinero. (Cook wanted.)
  • buscársela — to look for trouble — Ella se la buscó en las calles. (She found trouble on the streets.)

The busca form of buscar also can combine with several nouns to form compound nouns, although their meaning isn't always predictable. Here are the most common ones:

  • el buscapersonas (sometimes shortened to busca) — pager
  • el buscapiés — firecracker
  • el/la buscaplata — fortune hunter
  • el/la buscapleitos — troublemaker
  • el/la buscarruidos — troublemaker, rabble-rouser
  • el/la buscatesoros — treasure hunter, treasure seeker
  • el/la buscavidas — ambitious person, busybody

Conjugation of Buscar

The conjugation is regular in pronunciation but irregular in spelling. Specifically, whenever a conjugated form of buscar would have the c followed by an e if it were regular, the c changes to qu. This is because the sound of the c changes when it is followed by an e rather than retaining a sound that is similar to the English "k."

For example, to say "I sought," you would use the form busqué rather than the buscé that would be used if the verb were regular.

Other irregular forms are primarily in the present subjunctive mood. The are:

  • que yo busque (that I sought)
  • que tú busques (that you sought)
  • que usted/él/ella busque (that you/he/she sought)
  • que nosotros busquemos (that we sought)
  • que vosotros busquéis (that you sought)
  • que ustedes/ellos/ellas busquen (that you/they sought)

The first- and formal second-person commands also use irregular forms:

  • busque usted (you seek, single formal form)
  • busquemos nosotros (let's seek)
  • busquen ustedes (you seek, plural formal form)

Sample Sentences Using Buscar

Here are some examples of buscar in contemporary use:

  • Buscamos un profesional como tú. (We're looking for a professional like you.)
  • Los científicos no buscaron las drogas que matan a los microbios hasta que descubrieron que los microbios causaban enfermedades. (Scientists didn't search for drugs that kill microbes until they discovered that microbes cause illnesses.)
  • Necesito que lo busques tanto como te sea posible. (I need you to look for it as soon as you can.)
  • Te habían buscado durante toda la noche, y por fin te encontraron. (They searched for you all night, and they finally found you.)