Phrasal Verbs With ‘Dig’ in English

7 English Phrasal Verbs With 'DIG'

What can be phrasal verbs with ‘Dig’?

You must have often heard phrases with the word “DIG” in English. Such phrases in which the verb “to dig” is used together with prepositions or adverbs are called phrasal verbs. Such phrasal verbs often acquire a different meaning from the original verb. Let’s look at the verb “to dig” and popular phrasal verbs with it, their meanings and examples of use.

The verb “to dig” is an irregular verb. Its main forms are presented in the table.

InfinitivePast SimplePast Participle
to digdugdug

TOP 7 phrasal verbs with “DIG”

1. Dig In

Meaning

  • The phrase ‘dig in’ can be used both literally and figuratively. Literally, it means to start eating with enthusiasm, particularly when the food looks appetizing and you are very hungry.
    • “After taking a moment to thank the host, we all dug in.”
  • Figuratively, ‘dig in’ means to start or continue to do something in a determined way, often when facing a big or difficult task.
    • “We have thousands of files to archive, so let’s dig in.”
  • Start eating greedily.
    • “We were starving so we really dug in when the food finally did arrive.”
  • Excavate a protective shelter (military).
    • “Anticipating an artillery barrage, we quickly dug in.”

2. Dig Out

Meaning

  • Sometimes you’ll need to ‘dig something out’. This could be as literal as digging in the ground to remove something buried, but more commonly it’s used to describe the action of finding and taking out something that’s not easily accessible.
    • “I had to dig out my passport from the bottom of my messy drawer for the upcoming trip.”
  • Find something you haven’t used, seen, etc, for a long time.
    • “I dug out my old university essays.”
  • Dig to remove something or someone.
    • “They had to dig the survivors of the earthquake out from the ruins.”

3. Dig Up

Meaning

  • To ‘dig up’ information is to find it by searching carefully or by investigation, not unlike a detective. It’s often used when talking about seeking out detailed, obscure, or forgotten information.
    • “Journalists often have to dig up facts when they’re working on a story.”
  • Literally, this could also mean to remove something from the ground by digging, as in:
    • “We’re planning to dig up the old bushes and replace them with a vegetable garden.”
  • Find something that is supposed to be secret.
    • “The reporters eventually dug up the truth about the affair.”
  • Remove something from the ground.
    • “The police dug up  a body.”
  • Make a hole in a road, the ground, etc.
    • “The council have dug the road up.”

4. Dig Into

Meaning

  • ‘Dig into’ can mean to investigate something deeply and thoroughly. In a more informal setting, you might hear it in reference to examining or talking about a particular subject with great attention to detail.
    • “The committee will dig into the proposal before making a decision.”
  • It also can refer to enthusiastically starting to eat, similar to ‘dig in’:
    • “The pie looks delicious – let’s dig into it!”
  • Reach inside to get something.
    • “She dug into her handbag and pulled out a bunch of keys.”

5. Dig Down

Meaning

  • Although not as common, ‘dig down’ can imply two different actions. Literally, it can mean to make a hole or channel deeper. Figuratively, it’s often used to describe the effort to find an inner quality, like strength or determination, that will help someone continue with a difficult task.
    • “When the team was exhausted, they had to dig down deep to find the energy to finish.”

6. Dig for

Meaning

  • To search for something earnestly or with determination.
    • “The detective had to dig for clues to solve the mysterious case.”

7. Dig at

Meaning

  • To make a critical or sarcastic comment about someone.
    • “Sarah couldn’t help but dig at her brother’s messy room during the family dinner.”

Remember that context is the basis for understanding these phrases, so pay attention to how they are used in different situations. More practice and you will be confident in using and understanding phrasal verbs with “dig”.

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