Dig into the wonderful world of phrasal verbs with Tim Bowen’s latest Your English offering

‘In the face of fierce criticism from all sides, it seems as if the government has decided to dig in and sit the crisis out.’ If you dig in in this way, you prepare yourself for a difficult situation, especially if that situation is likely to last for a long time. 

If something digs in, it presses hard into something else, usually into a part of someone’s body, as in ‘There was a bright red mark on her shoulder where the buckle had dug in’. 

If you dig your heels in, you refuse to do something even though other people are trying very hard to persuade you to do it, as in ‘We had hoped she’d come round to our way of thinking and agree to sell the house, but she’s really digging her heels in’. 

Dig in can also be used informally as an imperative to encourage people to start eating food with a degree of enthusiasm, as in ‘Come on, everybody – dig in!’ 

If you dig into your savings, you start using money you have saved up, as in ‘I’ve had to dig into my savings this month to pay for my car insurance’. The phrasal verb dip into can be used in the same way. 

Investigative journalists may dig into someone’s past in order to find information about them, as in ‘Someone was digging into his past and he was determined to find out who it was’. 

If you dig something out, you find it after not using or seeing it for a long time, as in ‘It was only after my children kept pestering me that I finally dug out some old photos of my college days’.