My house has been robbed recently and from my new job I am getting a Laptop (MacBook). But I am afraid to take such a valuable piece of equipment after the break in. Taking these things into account I constructed a sentence to tell my boss but I am not sure whether it is correct or not.

"I can't take this valuable piece of equipment given the circumstances that my house was broke in."

  1. I was trying to connect these two sentences with given the circumstances but I am not sure if it makes any sense. Is it correct, if not what would be the correct phrase or word for it?

  2. Can I say that my house was robbed? Am I right in thinking that only people get robbed not things?

1 Answer 1


If you really want to use the phrase, 'given the circumstances', I recommend telling your boss your actual circumstances first:

My house was broken into recently. So,...given the circumstances I am in.

Using 'given the circumstances', means to treat 'the circumstances' as a noun phrase. You can describe the noun phrase like this:

given the circumstances that she was in


given the peculiar circumstances

where you are describing the manner or the person affected by the circumstances. However, writing about the circumstances themselves doesn't flow grammatically. One way to think about it is to view the circumstances as the object of the subordinate clause, meaning you can't talk about what the circumstances were, but you can talk about how or who was in those circumstances.

Also, yes, a house can be robbed like a person can. You can rob a thing and a thing can also be said to be robbed:

Last night, my TV got robbed!

  • 4
    I agree that a house can be robbed, but disagree with that last part. It should be, Last night, my TV was stolen (not, Last night, my TV got robbed)
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 18:31
  • 3
    As a journalist with national broadcasters I was taught that houses were burgled (if just broken into with a view to theft) and robbed (as their occupants were - if force or threatened force was used) and that items were stolen. While these are just conventions,there is much to be said for them.in distinguishing different types of crime. Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 22:51

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