Buscar Conjugation: Command & Subjunctive

Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

Elena teaches Spanish as a foreign language and has a PhD in linguistics.

In this lesson we will talk about the Spanish verb ''buscar'', which means 'to look for/search'. We will learn how to use it context, giving orders or making suggestions, i.e. in the imperative, or expressing wishes in the subjunctive.

Introducing the Verb Buscar

Have you ever been looking for something desperately only to realize that it was right in front of you? Are you looking for a fancy dress for your next party? Did your pet (or a friend's pet) ever get lost and you helped to look for them?

In order to talk about these subjects in Spanish, you will need the verb buscar, which means 'to look for' or 'to seek'.

Buscar = To look for/seek
search

Using Buscar in Context

The verb buscar is, in the majority of cases, followed by an object. We could use it on its own when giving an order in which the missing object is already implied. For example, we could say to a dog: ¡Busca! ('Search!') However, in the rest of the contexts, we will normally mention the object.

If what we are looking for is a thing or a non-living object, we will use the structure buscar + noun/phrase: buscar las llaves ('to look for the keys), buscar trabajo ('to look for a job') or buscar una palabra en el diccionario ('to look up a word in the dictionary').

If, on the other hand, we are referring to a living being, a human or an animal, we will use the structure buscar + a + object: buscar a tus amigos ('to look for your friends'), buscar a mi perro ('to look for my dog').

Buscar una palabra en el diccionario = To look up a word in the dictionary
dictionary

Imperative of Buscar

In order to give a direct order or command, the imperative forms are required. Notice that, whereas the second person (in both singular and plural) keeps the stem busc-, in the rest of the pronouns there is a slight change: c changes into qu-. This is because we need to keep the sound /k/ in all forms, and c + e sounds like /se/.

Take a look at the imperative forms and pay attention to the spelling.

VERB: buscar (boos-KAHR) - to look for

Subject Pronouns Buscar: Imperative Pronunciation Translation
busca BOOS-kah (you) look for
usted busque BOOS-keh (you formal) look for
nosotros nosotras busquemos boos-KEH-mohs (we) let's look for
vosotros vosotras buscad boos-KAHD (you all) look for
ustedes busquen BOOS-kehn (you all formal) look for

Take into account that the first person plural is also used to make suggestions.

Examples

Paulina is spending a few days in the countryside with her family and friends. She loves strolling around the meadows and playing outdoors with her sister Josefina, her friends, and her dog Toby.

They love playing treasure hunt games, so they have carefully designed a treasure map and everyone has hidden a few things.

Paulina: Busquemos los tesoros escondidos. ('Let's look for the hidden treasures'.)

Josefina: ¡Vale! ('Fine!') Buscad vosotros por allí. ('You all search around there'.)

Paulina: Me quedo con Toby. ('I'm staying with Toby'.) ¡Busca, Toby! ('Search, Toby!')

Busquemos los tesoros escondidos - Let us look for hidden treasure
map

Subjunctive of Buscar

The subjunctive is used in order to express doubts, uncertainty and wishes or give indirect orders as well. Notice that, again, c has changed into qu-, since in all subjunctive forms the main ending vowel is e. This is the result:

VERB: buscar (boos-KAHR) - to look for

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