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Conjugating the Spanish Verb Comprar (to Shop/Buy)

Spanish verbs fall into different groups, and each group is conjugated a little differently. If you’re going to master Spanish verbs like comprar, you need to be able to identify which group a verb belongs to: regular (follows regular conjugation rules for -ar, -er, and -ir verbs), stem-changing (morphs depending on how you use it in a sentence), spelling-changing (has consonant-spelling changes in some forms to follow pronunciation rules), or reflexive (reflects the action back on the subject of the sentence).

Comprar (kohm-prahr) (to shop/buy) is a regular -ar verb, so its conjugation is pretty straightforward. Here it is in the present tense:

The Present Tense of Comprar
Conjugation Translation
yo compro I shop
tú compras You (informal) shop
él/ella/ello/uno compra He/she/one shops
usted compra You (formal) shop
nosotros compramos We shop
vosotros compráis You all (informal) shop
ellos/ellas compran They shop
ustedes compran You all (formal) shop

The following examples show you comprar in action:

  • Compro regalos para tu familia. (I buy gifts for your family.)

  • Patricia compra libros en la librería. (Patricia buys books at the bookstore.)

Need to know how to conjugate comprar in another tense? The following tables show you the preterit, imperfect, and future forms.

The Preterit Tense of Comprar
Conjugation Translation
yo compré I shopped
tú compraste You (informal) shopped
él/ella/ello/uno compró He/she/one shopped
usted compró You (formal) shopped
nosotros compramos We shopped
vosotros comprasteis You all (informal) shopped
ellos/ellas compraron They shopped
ustedes compraron You all (formal) shopped

You use the preterit tense like this:

  • ¿Compraste una tarjeta para tu mamá? (Did you buy a card for your mom?)

  • Ustedes compraron todo lo que estaba en venta. (You bought everything that was on sale.)

The Imperfect Tense of Comprar
Conjugation Translation
yo compraba I used to shop
tú comprabas You (informal) used to shop
él/ella/ello/uno compraba He/she/one used to shop
usted compraba You (formal) used to shop
nosotros comprábamos We used to shop
vosotros comprabais You all (informal) used to shop
ellos/ellas compraban They used to shop
ustedes compraban You all (formal) used to shop

Here are some examples of the imperfect tense:

  • Mi hermano compraba papel para su impresora (My brother used to buy paper for his printer)

  • ¿Compraban ellos siempre en la misma tienda? (Did they use to always buy at the same store?)

The Future Tense of Comprar
Conjugation Translation
yo compraré I will shop
tú comprarás You (informal) will shop
él/ella/ello/uno comprará He/she/one will shop
usted comprará You (formal) will shop
nosotros compraremos We will shop
vosotros compraréis You all (informal) will shop
ellos/ellas comprarán They will shop
ustedes comprarán You all (formal) will shop

The following samples put the future tense to work:

  • Lo compraré aunque sea muy caro (I will buy it even if it is too expensive.)

  • ¿Comprarán ustedes todo lo que les muestre? (Will you buy everything I show you?)

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