If you are stolen please call the police

EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all,

I saw the following sign in a shopping mall in Seoul:

If you are stolen please call the police.

I think it's acceptable (meaning "if you are stolen stuff"), but my friend said it was wrong.

Is the way it's written not acceptable?
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    From the title I thought it was going to be about a car or some other electronic device that was smart enough to call the police when it calculated that it had been stolen (somehow, through some algorithm). :)
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It may have arisen from confusion with correct 'If you are robbed'. You rob a person or a house, you steal a wallet or a phone. So a person is robbed, but a thing like a phone is stolen.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    In this case, no, not really.

    If you are the victim of theft = If you are a victim of, specifically, the thing known as theft.
    If you are the victim of theft = If you are a victim. Of what? Theft.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    In this case, no, not really.

    If you are the victim of theft = If you are a victim of, specifically, the thing known as theft.
    If you are the victim of theft = If you are a victim. Of what? Theft.
    I mean "a victim of theft" vs "the victim of theft" :)
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I mistyped. I wanted to use "a" in the second sentence. Here it is again.

    If you are the victim of theft = If you are a victim of, specifically, the thing known as theft.
    If you are a victim of theft = If you are a victim. Of what? Theft.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It may have arisen from confusion with correct 'If you are robbed'. You rob a person or a house, you steal a wallet or a phone. So a person is robbed, but a thing like a phone is stolen.
    Doesn't "rob" imply the use of force or violence, which is unlike "steal", which is mostly done secretly?
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The English legal system defines the crime of robbery as follows: "A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force."

    In everyday language "rob" does not imply force. Rather, "rob" tells you who the victim is and "steal" tells you what has been taken.

    I was robbed on my way to work.
    A pickpocket robbed me on my way to work.
    If you don't lock your doors your house will get robbed.
    My wallet was stolen this morning.
    A pickpocket stole my wallet.
    If you don't lock your doors your belongings will get stolen.


    So:

    If you don't lock the doors your car will get robbed = items will be taken from your car.
    If you don't lock the doors your car will get stolen = the car itself will be taken.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    A pickpocket robbed me on my way to work.
    If you don't lock your doors your house will get robbed.
    I'm uncertain if these would be used this way in casual American English, especially the pickpocket one. Fortunately, I don't have too much personal experience.
     
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