Etiquette Refresher: Knives + Forks

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Good table manners are a necessity for everyone and there are some simple rules to remember when using cutlery.  In this post we review the simple do’s and don’t when using a knife and fork in Australia.

A knife should not be held like a pencil, rather it should be held with the end of the handle touching the centre of the palm of your hand.  Your thumb should extend down one side of the handle with the index finger pointing down the back but never touching the actual blade.  Your other three fingers should curl naturally around.

When a fork is used without a knife the tines (prongs) should always point upwards.  The fork should be held near the top of the handle, resting on the middle finger and supported by the outer fingers.  Left-handed people hold it in their left hand, while right-handed people should transfer it from the left side of their plate to their right hand.

Australian’s have adopted the British system of only using both the knife and fork together for the main course.  The knife, only required when cutting.  When used together, the knife cuts the food and is used to push the food onto the prongs of the fork, not onto the scooped side.

When resting cutlery between conversation, the knife and fork should be crossed on the plate with the fork over the knife and the prongs pointing down. When finished eating, place the knife and fork together with the prongs of the fork facing upwards and the blade of the knife facing the fork.

Related Posts:
Etiquette Refresher: How to eat soup
Dining Out Etiquette
My top 5 secrets to weight control

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What is Etiquette

 

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Etiquette in simple terms is good manners. Just like saying, “Thank You”, “Please”, and “Your Welcome”, gives people the hint that are well mannered.

I also think that etiquette goes deeper than saying “thank you” and “please”. For a lady, it is poise and elegance, like sitting up straight, thinking before you speak ect., but in this post we are going to give you some basic hints and tips on how to become well mannered. By using these simple hints in your every day life, it will become easier and will soon become a habit, to use manners.

If you follow these simple tips, you will soon realize what a difference it makes, both how you act and how much people will respond back to you!

  • Think before you speak, this is especially helpful if you are more prone to saying the wrong things.
  • Respect your elders, listen and learn from them.
  • Use simple terms, like “You’re Welcome” and “Thank You”. People, who don’t have manners, don’t use these words.
  • Always speak highly of others, don’t try to cut people down, when you are speaking.
  • Pay attention to your posture in public, always sit with your shoulders back and stand with your feet together. Act as if you have some class.
  • A warm way of greeting someone is “Hello, How are you?” or “Good Evening/Good Morning”
  • Don’t swear! Eventually you will learn that bad words are not appropriate and avoid using them.
  • Do not cut people off when they are speaking. Wait till they are finished, and then add your comment.
  • Always speak highly of your parents. This show that you respect them, because they are your parents and also because they are older than you.
  • Be ready to open doors for people, and always offer for people to go first. Most people will accept your invitation, but if they don’t – don’t argue. Just politely accept and go first.
  • When you are talking on the phone, be sure to pause once in a while, in order to allow the other person some time to speak.
  • Show respect to your parents! They’ll be overjoyed that their family is speaking to them with respect, for respect shows that you have good manners.
  • One of the easiest ways to show that you are well mannered is to be silent and only to talk when you have something important to say. This adds weight to your words.
  • Start your day off by smiling and being happy! Treat everyone you come across with respect. Having manners doesn’t mean being sour. Be happy and laugh often.
  • Some people feel that being “mannered” is “fake” or inauthentic. Instead, realize that manners are social conventions that make interactions easier and more pleasant. Not every interaction is an opportunity to correct others or set them straight.


Good manners will never go out of style, so practice having good manners. It can only help you in the long run.

Try using manners in your everyday life, at work, in school, in the family, even when driving. People do notice good manners, so don’t be afraid to use these hints and tips!