Steal vs. Rob: Crime Vocabulary

Have you ever been robbed? It’s a terrible feeling! What did they steal?

STEAL and ROB are two words related to crime, but it’s good to know which one to use.

STEAL

A thief steals things. It is an irregular verb. (STEAL<< STOLE>>STOLEN)

A thief might steal your cell phone, your wallet, or even your car.

We typically use the passive tense to describe the crime.

  • Active: A thief stole my purse.
  • Passive: My purse was stolen. (by a thief)

ROB

When a thief enters your home or business and takes something from you, we can say that you have been robbed.

Robbed is for places or people, and it is a regular verb. (ROB<<ROBBED>>ROBBED)

We typically use the passive tense to talk about being robbed.

  • Active:        Three thieves robbed the bank.
  • Passive:      The bank was robbed. (by three thieves)

THIEF, THIEVES (pl.)

A thief is a general term to call someone who takes things that aren’t theirs. For more specific crimes, use the following names:

  • A robber robs banks
  • A burglar enters and robs homes and jewelry stores
  • A kidnapper steals children
  • A pickpocket steals from people in busy, public places
  • A pirate steals technology like software, movies or music files
  • A hacker steals digital information, like emails or passwords
  • A hijacker steals control of airplanes or other forms of transportation
  • A shoplifter steals things from stores like clothing, cosmetics, or food

Crime is never a fun experience, but it is interesting to think about and talk about. What makes people want to steal? Have you ever stolen anything that didn’t belong to you?  Maybe a pen, or a hotel towel? Come on, be honest! Read more in this funny post about the 7 little things that people often steal. How about you?

 

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