Get drawn into the latest instalment of Your English and draw on Tim Bowen’s considerable experience with this set of useful phrasal verbs.

‘You can tell it’s autumn because the nights are drawing in.’ In this sense, draw in is used to mean that it is becoming dark earlier as the autumnal season begins. If a vehicle draws in or draws into a place, it arrives there, as in ‘As the train was drawing into the station, we noticed a strange hooded figure standing on the platform’. 

If you draw someone into a conversation or a situation, you involve them in it, often when they do not wish to be involved, as in ‘The government is unwilling to commit troops to the region as it does not want to get drawn into a conflict that has no end in sight’. 

To draw on can be used to mean to make use of part of something you have gradually gained or saved, as in ‘Authors often draw on their own life experiences’ or ‘The company will need to draw on its reserves of cash during the current economic downturn’. 

To draw something out is to make it last longer than is strictly necessary, as in ‘This action could draw the dispute out for another six months’. 

If you draw up something such as a document or a plan, you prepare a draft version of it, as in ‘Can you draw up a draft contract by the end of next week?’ or ‘The committee had drawn up a shortlist of candidates to be interviewed for the post’. Other items that can be drawn up include guidelines, budgets, constitutions, lists, proposals, schedules and timetables.