Did you know the way you position your knife and fork can send visual cues to your guests and servers? It can signal if you’re done with a meal or would like to continue. It can even tell if you’re dissatisfied with the meal! Should you keep them crossed over on top of a plate or far apart? You don’t want to send across the wrong messages now, do you? If you’d like to learn more about cutlery etiquette, keep reading.

“I Am Starting.”

Having your fork and knife outside your plate on either side, means you are ready to begin your meal.

“I Am Pausing.”

Placing your cutlery on your plate in an upside-down V-shape with the tips of the utensils facing towards each other means you are talking to someone and have paused eating.

Source: Getty Images

“I Am Finished.”

Keeping the cutlery parallel to each other in the center of the plate pointing at 12 o’clock means you are done. Your server will know that you have finished your meal. The interesting thing here is that you can actually place your cutlery in any position as long as they’re parallel to each other.

Source: Getty Images/ kyoshino

“I Am Ready For The Next Dish.”

If you plan on having multiple courses, this one will come in handy. Place your knife and fork in a cross on the plate. Make sure the fork is pointing vertically while the knife is horizontal.

“The Meal Was Excellent.”

Any hotel staff would be pleased with this gesture. This will also indicate that you have finished your meal. Place your knife and fork horizontally across the plate with the blade and tines pointing right.

Source: Getty Images/ MadVector

“I Did Not Enjoy The Meal.”

This is perhaps one gesture attendants will not want to see. But if you are dissatisfied with your meal place your knife’s blade through the fork’s tines in a V. It’s pretty similar to  “I have not finished,” so be sure not to confuse the two. Remember that cutlery parallel to each other in the center of the plate means you are finished with your meal.

Source: Getty Images/ MadVector

While you now have the hang of how to place your cutlery on your plate let’s look at some don’ts when it comes to cutlery etiquette. This one should be obvious but please do refrain from licking your knife or using your cutlery to gesticulate at other guests. Confused about the tablecloth? Do not stain beautiful white tablecloths beneath cutlery so make sure you never place your utensils on the table cloth after using them. The ones that have been used have to be placed back on the plate. Also if you find too many types of forks and spoons make sure to start from the outside and work your way in. If there are food items that are meant to be shared never use your personal cutlery to serve.  A gesture to absolutely avoid is crossing your cutlery like an X. It’s a big no-no in cutlery etiquette. It’s difficult for the waiter to try and pick up and no one wants used cutlery slipping off a plate.

So there you have it. Now go on and fine dine like a boss!

Source: Getty Images/ Agustin Vai