Mobile apps seem to be killing the “one inbox” idea. We’re getting used to dipping into buckets of content, like changing TV channels.
— Elliot Loh (@Loh) June 9, 2012
Today’s focus is on the phrasal verb, ‘dip into’.
Some common sentence patterns are:
“dip into [my, his/her/its, our, your] (something that you’ve been saving)”
“It’s (adjective) to be dipping into (something you have).”
When you put a chip in salsa, you ‘dip’ the chip. When you put sushi into soy sauce, you ‘dip’ the sushi. So, when you ‘dip’, you put something into a ‘pool’ of something else.
“Dip into” is a phrase that is used a lot to talk about savings. What are savings? It is a ‘pool’ of money, right? If you “dip into your savings” you are taking a little out. Think about it, when you dip a chip or sushi, you don’t take all of the salsa or soy sauce with one dip. But, if you dip too much, it will be gone. This image is what we have with our savings, so we use the phrase ‘dip into’.
There are other ways you can use the phrase. What are other things that are like pools? Some examples are:
Knowledge, content, information, oil reserves, etc.
Today’s example shows us how the phrase is used with content. The speaker describes the content in our smartphone apps as ‘buckets of content’. This is a great image. He starts off by saying how mobile apps are ‘killing’ (eliminating) the idea of the ‘one inbox idea’ (the idea that we can have many accounts going to one place). He says we are ‘dipping into buckets of content’ in the same way that we watch TV. Many people flip channels (or change from one channel to the next very quickly).
Do you think this is a bad thing? Maybe humans just like to compartmentalize (keep things separate).
Finally, remember that ‘dip into’ is a different phrase than ‘take a dip’. If I say, “I’m going to take a dip in the pool,” it means I’m going to go for a short swim. If you use “dip into” in this situation, it will sound a little strange. Also, “Take a dip in my savings,” would be unnatural.
Situations & Examples
Read the situations, but write down your own sentence using today’s target. When you finish, click ‘Show Example’. Share your own sentences in the comments!
Your friend and her husband really want to buy a house. The only savings they have are in their retirement fund. She is asking you what you think they should do. You have never bought a house before, but you have always read from experts who say not to use retirement savings unless it is really necessary. You say,
“All of the experts say it’s better not to dip into your retirement unless you really have to.”
You have been taking one trip abroad every year for five years. On one of your trips, you made a good friend. You call each other about trips every year. Your friend asks you about where you’re going this year. You had a big medical bill, and had to use your savings. You won’t be able to go on your trip this year. You say,
“Because I dipped into my savings to pay a medical bill, I won’t be able to take my trip this year.”
In college, you studied anthropology. While you really liked the subject, you decided to become a lawyer instead. You haven’t read about anthropology since college. Your husband sees that you’re reading an anthropology book, and you explain how it’s nice to use all of your knowledge again. You say,
“I haven’t read about anthropology since college. It’s nice to be dipping into that well of knowledge again.”
You love talking economics and politics. You and your close friend are talking about the slow global economic growth last year. You want to say one reason you think it was slow. You think it was because industrialized nations used oil reserves when Libya stopped exporting. You explain,
“One reason is that industrialized nations had dipped into national oil reserves because Libyan exports dried up.”