The proper placement of silverware
Pieces of silverware or cutlery are placed on both sides of the plate, in the order in which they will be used, starting with those on the outside. This method prevents guests from making mistakes and gives them an indication of what will be served. The large table knife, the fish knife, and the soup spoon are placed to the right of the plate.
On the left are placed the table fork, the fish fork, and the oyster or melon fork, if required. Dessert cutlery - spoon and fork - are placed between the plate and the glasses, with the handle of the spoon towards the right, and the handle of the fork to the left. Alternatively, they can be brought to the table at the time dessert is served.
Rules differ from country to country. For example, in France it is customary to place the fork with the tines facing down, while in England the opposite is done.
This custom dates from the days when the owner's initials were engraved on the forks; they were placed on the table so that the initials could be seen. The placement of the monograms, on the back in France and on the top in Great Britain, gave rise to the way of positioning them that is still used today.