¡Busca! vs. ¡Mira! – What’s the difference between buscar and mirar?

Q

One TalkBox.Mom family asked our team of native Spanish speakers:
When would I use “busca” for “look“ and when is it more appropriate to use “mira”?

Great question!

A

“Buscar” means “to look for” something or someone, and “mirar” means to look or look at something or someone.

Buscar

So if my child was looking for their blanket, I could say, “Let’s find your blanket,” or, “Let’s look for your blanket,” or, “Let’s search for your blanket,” in English.

Here is that phrase in Spanish that carries all those meanings:

Vamos a buscar tu cobija.

Listen & repeat with the audio.

 

Now, if my child asked what a word meant and I didn’t know what it meant, I would want to look it up in the dictionary. We want to “look for” the word or “find” it!

Here’s, “Let’s look it up!” in Spanish. Note, “it” is referring to “the word.”

Vamos a buscarla.

Listen & repeat with the audio.

Mirar

In English, you know that “Look it up,” and “Look up,” have two different meanings, right?

In Spanish, to say, “Look up!” you say:

“Mira para arriba.”

Listen & repeat with the audio.

 

“¡Mira!” is used when you want one person to look in that direction.

It’s like what every child yells when they want you to see them do something that they think is very cool. Like yelling, “¡Mira!” before they jump off the swing or yelling, “¡Mira!” before they ride their bike past you.

Here is how to pronounce “¡Mira!”

Listen & repeat with the audio.

 

You can also use “mira” with a noun to ask something to look at something specific.

Here are a couple of examples.

“Look at the balloons,” is:

Mira los globos.

Listen & repeat with the audio.

 

“Look at that beautiful rainbow,” is:

Mira el hermoso arco iris.

Listen & repeat with the audio.

 

As you go through the Spanish TalkBox.Mom program, you’ll see more and more examples of “mirar” and “buscar” being used and you’ll start to understand them in the context that a native speaker does as you use those phrases.

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