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bark up the wrong tree

bark up the wrong tree

Date: Jun 25 2015

Themes: Celebrity, Pop Culture


1. Quote - Listen to the quote and guess what the slang means.

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“Until you learn to play what you want to hear, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

Musician Billy Gibbons, talking about the right way to play music (BrainyQuote)


1. Definition - Study the definition.

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try to do something that isn’t right

2. Use - Learn how the slang is used.

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Sometimes, people try to do things that will never work. Singers try to become actors, even though they don’t know how to act. Or kids lie to their teachers because they think they are smarter than them. But most of the time, this is a bad idea. This is called barking up the wrong tree.

To bark up the wrong tree means to try to do something that isn’t going to work. For example, let’s say Ben and Katie work in the same office. Ben really wants to impress Katie, so he decides to be mean to the other people they work with. But Katie likes when other people are nice, so Ben is barking up the wrong tree. Ben is trying to impress Katie, but that will never work while he is being mean to people.

Musician Billy Gibbons said that people who play music that they do not like are barking up the wrong tree. He thinks that if you want to be a good artist, you have to play music that you actually like.

When have you ever barked up the wrong tree?


1. Examples - Hear some example sentences.

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“Kate asked Mark out on a date, but she’s barking up the wrong tree. Mark’s married!”

“Mandi is an OK tennis player, but I think she is barking up the wrong tree. She should play basketball.”

“Kyle was barking up the wrong tree when he said I ate his banana. It was actually his dog, Ripper!”


1. Winners - See who guessed the slang definition correctly.

a2020 Waste your time and not to do useful things.
by a2020
aijaciba To make the wrong choice.
by aijaciba
playing the wrong role or doing the wrong thing..
by La Princesse de la vie
zahra202 make the wrong choice,Waste one's efforts by pursuing the wrong thing or path
by zahra202

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There are no people who did not bark up the wrong tree at least once in their life. The point is to make right conclusions and prevent it in the future.

08:22 PM Oct 18 2015 |

beciumonicaSuper Member!


Wow…does it work? 

03:38 PM Jun 28 2015 |




There’re different cases of barking up the wrong tree. If it concerns moral issues then, yes, it’s barking up the wrong tree for sure. But if it’s something that requires efforts, hard work – it will never for vain. Recently I watched American Ninja warrior show. I was inspired how people with differnt background of physical training had the confidence to come and participate in the show. Nothing will go for vain. Even though many of them didn’t win, but what a preparation they went through, how strong they’ve become… There was even one woman who survived cancer. She’s got the spirit, with all that she went through, she didn’t give up and started preparing for show. Very inspriring, thanks a lot to that woman and other participants who showed great perseverance, determination, positive thinking, spirit! This attitude will  always bark up right tree!

03:44 AM Jun 27 2015 |


United States

I was bark up the wrong tree when I went out with a married women ( I didn’t know ) . I was almost killed by him . 

03:17 PM Jun 25 2015 |

2 people like this

La Princesse de la vie


I always thought that I was into medicine and I was talking myself into that till I finally realized that I was barking up the wrong tree.

Thanks God I couldn’t join medicine school or it would have been a big dilemma!

02:39 PM Jun 25 2015 |



we all make mistakes in our lifes..we make wrong decisions or choices ..we blame wrong persons…Experience isnt cheap :) and to grow up isnt easy ))) 




I think,that once,i was barking the wrong tree when i was trying to make a relationship works and lasts with someone i didn’t like !!

12:12 PM Jun 25 2015 |




I have known for a long time a person that is constantly finding faults in my friends. I have tried many times to talk to her out of this treat of her character,  she momentarily  agrees with me  but  her commitment  don´t go too far.     i have been barking up the wrong tree , she will never change.


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

What a nice slang!thanks every one

08:59 AM Jun 25 2015 |




@michele why did u say that? I think you have never barked up the wrong tree.You like english so you want to improve it.Like Billy said you learn to play what you want to hear.




maybe I am barking up the wrong tree trying to improve my english..not easy to do..

08:21 AM Jun 24 2015 |

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