Rob or steal ? - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Rob or steal?

from English Grammar Today

Rob and steal both mean ‘take something from someone without permission’.

Rob focuses on the place or person from which the thing is taken:

The gang robbed three banks over a period of six months, but were finally caught.

Our local post office was robbed early on Tuesday morning.

A young woman was attacked and robbed as she walked home from work last night.


When we are talking about a house, we use burgle:

The house was burgled while they were all sleeping.

Not: The house was robbed

Steal focuses on the thing that is taken:

The thieves entered the museum through the roof and stole three paintings worth more than two million euros.

Our car was stolen from outside our house last week.


We usually don’t say rob + object stolen:

He stole my wallet.

Not: He robbed my wallet.

(“Rob or steal ?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
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