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Wires Crossed
Wires Crossed English, baby! Video Lesson

Learn English meaning of 'wires crossed'

Date: Apr 05 2016

Themes: Friend, Soap Opera, Work

Grammar: Phrasal Verbs


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

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2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

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Imagine this: It is your birthday, and your friends invite you out for dinner. Since it is your special day, you imagine that someone else will take care of the bill. You leave your wallet at home. However, when the check arrives, everyone agrees to split the cost. Your friends are expecting you to help pay for the food! It looks like you and your friends got the wires crossed.

We use the expression “get the wires crossed” when we have a misunderstanding. It’s possible to get the wires crossed with a person or with a situation. For instance, maybe, you ordered soup in a restaurant but got a salad. You and the waiter probably got the wires crossed. Or maybe, you were late to class because you took the wrong train. You must have gotten the wires crossed about the train schedule. And, of course, it is especially easy to get the wires crossed when you are studying a foreign language!

It looks like there has been a misunderstanding at the office. Watch the video to find out how the wires got crossed.

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1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.











Andy_H:  Sorry, Sheila. I’m just trying to get my file organizer ​to stay in my cubicle.

Sheila:  It’s not a cubicle.

Andy_H:  Jordin, can I borrow some tape? ­I’m having a cubicle malfunction.

Sheila:  It’s not a cubicle.

Jordin:  Sure, I just need to put the finishing touches on Dominique’s cubicle.

Sheila:  Still not a cubicle.

Jordin:  What, this?

Sheila:  Alright, that’s it. Jordin, I think we got our wires crossed​ about the cubicles.

Jordin:  What do you mean?

Sheila:  We wanted cubicles, not recycled box art.

Jordin:  I’m sorry. It seemed like a good idea…

Kelsey:  It’s is! I really like them. I can totally decorate, but the walls are small, so it’s like we’re all still together.

Sheila:  My point exactly. Thank you, Kelsey.

Andy_H:  I don’t know. I really like the idea, but I’m having a really hard time getting my organizer to stay up. And I’m going to run out of room for my Post-­It Notes.

Dominique:  This looks great, Jordin!

Jordin:  Thank you!

Sheila:  OK. I am a little confused and I feel like we got our wires crossed ​about the cubicles. When I said I thought it might be nice to have cubicles, I meant actual cubicles. I think there was a misunderstanding. These aren’t cubicles, these are boxes.

Dominique:  I understand. Unfortunately, cubicles are too expensive so I asked Jordin to come up with a solution. It’s only temporary. It gives us each a little privacy.

Kelsey:  There is one problem… Not enough room to decorate! There.

Andy_H:  Sorry.


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Andy is trying to organize his cubicle, and Kelsey is trying to decorate hers. They keep getting in the way of Sheila trying to work. Sheila is not happy about the new cubicles. She says they are just boxes, not real cubicles. She tells Jordin that they must have gotten their wires crossed about what Sheila wanted.

Dominique tells Sheila that this was all that Jordin could come up with right now. Real cubicles are too expensive, so this is a temporary solution. It gives them each a little bit of privacy. Sheila is still not happy with the arrangement, but Kelsey thinks the new cubicles are great. There’s only one problem… not enough room to decorate!

Do you work in an office with cubicles? Have you ever gotten the wires crossed with anyone?



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I worked at a call center for 3 years and each employee had its own cubicle. That was fine but sometimes your next to workmate raises his voice and to hear your customer you have to raise yours. Hence you get a chain reaction and in 5 minutes everybody in the office speaks loudly and it’s coming in a mess😀

12:30 PM May 28 2016 |

jolefrancaisSuper Member!


oh god working in a cubicle must be horrible. Not enough privacy!!!! Everibody knows about everybody and you can’t be productive and creative in your daily work. At least if you run out of ideas you can ask your people to come up with a solution lol.

12:46 PM May 08 2016 |



YES I ALWAYS GET WIRES CROSSED with my students at school; 

11:23 AM Apr 13 2016 |

1 person likes this

Sami Aswad

Sami Aswad


Thank god I dnt work in an office with cubicles , it is really hard to dnt get wires crossed while dealing with some patients at the hospital

12:12 PM Apr 06 2016 |




The day I got my wires crossed.

I had been invited to a wedding that took place in a hotel close to the Los Angeles airport. While all the guests were seated i heard over the speaker that the bar was opened for free drinks during one hour,all the booze will be on the groom´s father. What i didn´t hear was that after that time we would have to pay if we wanted to ” indulge ” in alcohol. After the permitted time , i stood up and swiftly went to the bar and ordered a whisky ” on the rocks”, The bartender fixed the drink for me and said: 5,50 dollars Sir. The problem was that this nicely dressed gentleman forgot to carry some cash or a credit card. I told him, anyway , he was mad at me, to say wires crossed is an understatement. That was a thirsty night for me.Ha hahaha

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