Utensils are generally arranged according to the order that they will be used. Utensils used first sit at the extreme edges of the setting, and later utensils are closer to the center. Salad is served before dinner, so the salad fork is the left-most fork. Knives and spoons sit on the right side with the soup spoon in the right-most spot. position. Replace the dinner knife with a steak knife during informal meals. Formal meals call for roasted meats and entrees for which a tearing and gnashing action of a serrated knife is not necessary.
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Put a plate or napkin in the center of the place setting. This will help you to space the utensils out.
Lay down the left-hand utensils. Place the dinner fork — that's the one with the long tines — immediately to the left of the plate. The salad fork sits to the left of the dinner fork.
Set the right-hand utensils. Place the steak knife immediately to the right of the plate or napkin. Next place the teaspoon to the right of that and the soup spoon to the right of the teaspoon. The placement of the teaspoon is an exception to the rule that utensils are used from the outside in; teaspoons and dessert spoons are generally used last. The teaspoon can also be placed above the plate.
Set other plates and a drinking glass. Place a salad plate to the left of the salad fork, and a bread plate above the tines of the dinner fork. Position water glasses, wine glasses and tea glasses above the steak knife.