When it comes to quality IELTS coaching, the aspiring students of Bengaluru, Chennai and Coimbatore have their best choice in Sahasriya. The training methods of both IELTS Basic Course and IELTS Advanced Course are standing examples of quality IELTS coaching. Sahasriya’s quality IELTS coaching has led to 95+% success and over 2,500 students clearing IELTS in their first attempt. With years of experience on IELTS, Sahasriya is the destination for quality IELTS coaching. In Bengaluru or Chennai-Velachery and Porur or Coimbatore, everyday’s note on important aspects of English language is a standing example of quality IELTS coaching. Today, it is about ‘Steel‘ and ‘Steal‘.

English words that mean the same thing but have different meanings are homophones. There are many homophones in English, and it can be difficult to tell them all apart. Even experienced writers sometimes make embarrassing mistakes.

Two homophones, steal and steel, are particularly easy to misuse. There is only one letter’s difference in their spelling, but these words are not interchangeable in any context.

Continue reading to discover whether you actually mean steel or steal.

When to Use Steal

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What does steal mean? Steal is a verb with multiple senses. In one sense, it means to take something that belongs to someone else.

For example,

  • “Thou shalt not steal” is one of the Biblical Ten Commandments.
  • Robin Hood decided to steal from the rich and give to the poor.

Steal can also mean to sneak, as when one avoids detection through stealthy means.

For example,

  • While Mom is asleep, I will steal down to his kitchen and find us something to eat.

Sometimes, steal is used as a noun, where it is a synonym of bargain in that word’s noun sense.

For example,

  • “A queen sized pillow top mattress for only Rs 3000 is a steal,” the wife said to her husband.

When to Use Steel

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What does steel mean? Steel can be a noun or a verb.

As a noun, it refers to a type of metal that is an alloy of iron and carbon. Steel has many uses and is one of the most common metals in the industrialized world, finding its way into such varied applications as kitchenware, medical equipment, and building construction.

For example,

  • High chromium stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and does not warp easily, making it well-suited to environments where regular sterilization is necessary.
  • The new bridge is reinforced with steel girders.

Steel is also a verb, where it means to mentally prepare.

For example,

  • He steeled himself for the oncoming verbal assault.

Trick to Remember the Difference

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Now that we are all clear on each word’s meaning, let’s go over a helpful memory tool to remember steel vs. steal.

As a noun, steal is another word for a bargain. You can remember to use steal in this context since it is spelled with an A, like its synonym deal.

As a verb, steal means to take something that belongs to someone else. If you are very hungry but have no money, you might be tempted to steal a meal. You can use the same trick as above with the words steal and meal.

Steel is a type of common metal alloy. Steel is everywhere, including cabling. Steel cable might come on a reel. Steel and reel both have a double E, so remembering to use steel in this context should be easy, as well.


Is it steal or steel? Although these two words sound the same, their meanings are completely and totally different.

Here’s when you should use steal:

  • As a verb, steal means to take something that belongs to someone else.
  • As a noun, a steal is a great bargain.

Here is when you should use steel:

  • Steel is a noun that refers to a useful metal alloy.
  • It is also a verb—to steel oneself is to mentally prepare for something.

Using the memory tricks in the previous section, you can be sure to always use steal and steel in the appropriate context. If you still need help, you can refer back to this article for a refresher.

This daily series is an effort by Sahasriya in providing best writing and speaking practices as a part of quality IELTS coaching. These vital tips ensures a student’s aspiration with Sahasriya is the most effective which is what hundreds of students benefit from everyday.

About Sindhu Sriram

Sindhu SriramAn education enthusiast and a self-made entrepreneur in devising unique and simple ways to educate complex elements. An English language expert and a successful role-model for many aspiring trainers. Not only is she the brainchild to have founded Sahasriya, she is a top-notch and sought after English language professional

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