Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rob or steal?

Both verbs have the same meaning but different structure:

rob someone of something
steal something from someone

As you can see, steal is used when we refer to the thing that is stolen, while rob is used when we refer to the person or place from which something has been stolen.
For example:
They stole $1 million from the bank.
They robbed the bank of $1 million.

Both sentences mean the same, but the first one emphasizes what has been stolen and the second one stresses who has been robbed.
A burglar breaking into a house

Other verbs that you can use with similar meaning:
  • burgle: to illegally enter a building and steal things from it.
Our neighbour's house was burgled last night.
  • break into: the same as burgle
Someone broke into our neighbour's house last night.
  • shoplift: to steal things from shops by hiding them.
Many people shoplift due to emotional problems.
  • Hold up: to threaten the people who work in a bank and then steal the money.
Yesterday, two men held up a bank but were finally caught by the police.
  • Mug: to attack and rob someone in the street.
The old lady was mugged by a young boy.
  • Snatch: to steal someone´s bag and then run away.
A man pushed her and snatched her bag.
  • Loot: to steal things from a shop or other places especially during a war or riot.
The rioters broke into and looted all the shops in the street.

Other words that refer to the people that steal or the crime of stealing are:

people that steal

the crime of stealing
thief/ thieves theft
robber robbery
burglar burglary/ break-in
shoplifter shoplifting
mugger mugging
looter looting

Now you can do this exercise to check what you have learnt.

Finally, listen to this song by The Smiths from the 1987 album "Louder than bombs".

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