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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.)

Photo by Plenty.r; licensed via 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."

Note that buscar is conjugated irregularly in terms of spelling, but not in terms of pronunciation. When a c in the verb ending is followed by an e or an i, change the c to qu. For example, to say, "I sought," use busqué, as buscé would result in a mispronunciation.

Here are some of the common ways buscar is used, followed by a definition, example and translation:

  • 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 buscavidas — ambitious person, busybody
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