[Motivation]
인생을 살면서 우리는 가끔씩 어떤 것에 대해 완전히 헛짚을 때가 있다.
  • 학자들이 어떤 현상을 이해하는데 있어서  엉뚱한 곳에서 답을 찾아내려고 할 때
  • 여자친구가 어떤 이유 때문에 화내는 줄 알았는데, 알고보니 정작 삐친 이유는 다른 곳에 있을 때
  • 마피아게임에서 선량한 시민이라고 굳게 믿었던 친구가 최후에 마피아라는 것이 밝혀질 때…
  • 시험에 안 나올 것들만 공부해서 시험을 망칠 때..
  • Albert가 DailyEnglishTip에서 참여도를 높이려고 Missions 제도를 도입해봤으나,  오직 한분께서만 참여 하셨을 때(YES,  MISS. YOU. I WILL GIVE YOU THE SPECIAL 200 POINTS FOR BEING AWESOME)
이렇게 우리는 오해하고, 헛짚고, 또 그런 행동을 다른 사람으로부터 자주 목격할 때가 많은데..
이런 상황을 영어로 어떻게 표현할까?
5
[Phrase] 
bark up the wrong tree
  • [Definition] 
    • to make the wrong choice
    • to ask the wrong person
    • to follow the wrong course
마치 다람쥐를 쫓던 강아지가 엉뚱한 나무에 짖는 이미지를 떠올려보라 (다람쥐가 그 나무 위에 올라가 있을 것이라고 생각해서).
3
Image source: http://www.idioms4you.com/
[Q&A]
  • Is it a slang or Idiom? Idiom
  • Can I use it in my English essay? Yes
  • Can I use it in business settings ? Yes
  • Can I use it in a technical paper? No
  • Who uses it?  남녀노소. everyone
  • When did you hear this expression? during one of the seminars I go to.  The speaker criticized that the community as a whole is looking at the wrong data to answer the given question. “We’ve been barking up the wrong tree…”
[From Movies & TV Shows]
  • CLEMENTINE: Male or female? JOEL: Female. CLEMENTINE: At least I haven’t been barking up the wrong tree. (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  • If you were hoping to manipulate me, you are barking up the wrong tree. The wrong tree. (Black Sails)
  • Jack: Forget it , max, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Max:I don’t think so (Get Smart)
  • My gut tells me you’re barking up the wrong tree. You see the shooter’s car? I’ll bet you ten bucks he’s hopped up, looking for some easy cash. (NCIS)
  • But you’re barking up the wrong tree. We didn’t want his life. We wanted his money. (Law & Order)
ScreenClip [2]
[From Twitter]
  • Bark up the wrong tree - To seek something from the wrong person or place.
  • Hedge funds are betting big on a PetSmart price bump. Are they barking up the wrong tree?
  • “People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.“- #PabloPicasso
  • Hi, boy who asked me out at the park. You’re barking up the wrong tree. xoxo, byeeeeee.
[From News]
  • If you have a crush on your dentist, you might be barking up the wrong tree: 81 percent of dentists are already married (Bloomberg)
  • Whoever doesn’t agree is obviously barking up the wrong tree. (NYT)
  • Are our leaders barking up the wrong tree? (Bloomberg)
[Comment] 
이 표현을 자칫 “대충” 습득하면 “bark at the wrong tree”라고 할 수도 있는데 관용적으로는 틀린 표현이다.
  • bark up the wrong tree (O)
  • bark at the wrong tree (X)
예문에서 볼 수 있듯이 보통 현재진형형으로 자주 사용된다. ~was barking up the wrong tree [Context]  query: “bark* up the wrong tree” c   Source: Davies, Mark. (2008-) The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/.

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