Phrasal verbs with “Drill” in English

drill-into phrasal verb

What are phrasal verbs with “Drill” in English?

Phrasal verbs are a pivotal part of mastering English, capable of enhancing the depth and nuance in communication. Among these, the verb “drill” [drɪl] combined with various prepositions takes on meanings that vastly diverge from its standalone sense relating to making holes or rigorous training. This article will delve into phrasal verbs with “drill” to bolster both comprehension and application for English learners.

TOP 8 Phrasal Verbs with “Drill”

1. Drill down

Meaning: Explore in detail or more deeply. Search through layers of information on a computer.


  • We must drill down to identify the root cause of these errors.
  • I really had to drill down to get the answers from the database.

Usage Tips: The phrasal verb “drill down” is often used in the context of analytics, data, business, and sometimes technology, where it is important to gain a deeper understanding of a situation by digging into details and examining information at a more detailed level.

2. Drill down (into)

Meaning: To delve into the detail, to investigate or analyze in depth.


  • To fully understand the dataset, we need to drill down into the numbers and assess the patterns over the past year.
  • The manager asked the team to drill down into the customer feedback to pinpoint the main complaints.

Usage Tips: Common in business and research contexts, “drill down” is often used to suggest a thorough analysis.

3. Drill into

Meaning: To teach someone something by making them learn or repeat it many times.


  • The teacher drilled the multiplication tables into the students until they could recall them from memory.
  • The safety procedures were drilled into employees so that they would react automatically in case of an emergency.

Usage Tips: “Drill into” is reminiscent of traditional teaching methods emphasizing memorization and repetition.

4. Drill through

Meaning 1: To perforate or penetrate a material completely.


  • The construction workers had to drill through a two-foot concrete wall to install the new pipes.
  • Drilling through the thick ice required specialized equipment.

Usage Tips: This sense is literal, making direct reference to the physical act of drilling.

Meaning 2: To push through difficulty or resist external pressures, often metaphorical.


  • The anthropologist drilled through layers of bureaucracy to gain access to the ancient manuscripts.
  • Despite setbacks, the team drilled through and completed the project on time.

Usage Tips: In a metaphorical sense, “drill through” conveys persistence.

5. Drill down through

Meaning: The term “drill down through” can be used to describe a process of very deep or detailed analysis that continues through multiple levels or layers of information until a desired level of understanding or specific findings is reached. Get to the bottom of something, get detailed data.


  • They drilled down through the information to find the truth.
  • Our task is to drill down through the historical records to uncover the timeline of events.

Usage Tips: This phrasal verb can be used in specialized or technical contexts where it is important to go through different levels of complex information. It can also be used in a more figurative sense, emphasizing the completeness and detail of the analysis process.

6. Drill in

Meaning: To instill or inculcate something through persistent instruction.


  • Coaches drill in the importance of teamwork and discipline from the first day of training.
  • It’s important to drill in the fundamentals before moving on to more advanced topics.

Usage Tips: Similar to “drill into”, it is used when discussing education or training.

7. Drill out

Meaning: To remove something by using a drilling action or to enlarge a hole by reaming.


  • The worker drilled out the broken screw, so they could replace it with a new one.
  • To fit the larger cables, you might need to drill out the holes slightly.

Usage Tips: This is usually a technical term used in construction or manufacturing contexts.

8. Drill up

Meaning: This is less common and could mean to compile information from various sources or reports, essentially the reverse of “drill down”. It is also occasionally used to refer to the act of ending a drill or practice session.


  • After drilling down to gather individual details, it’s often necessary to drill up to understand the overall situation.
  • The coach decided to drill up early because the team was performing exceptionally well.

Usage Tips: “Drill up” is rarely used and can sometimes cause confusion; it is typically more clear to specify exactly what “up” refers to.

In summary, “drill” phrasal verbs are versatile and can be seen creating an impact across various disciplines including education, business, construction, and even day-to-day conversation. The subtle differences in prepositions alter the meaning significantly, so attention to context is key. For English learners, knowing these phrasal verbs can help drill down into the nuances of the language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!