Top Language: Table Talk

Top Language

This post will be looking at the word TABLE and how we can use it every day.

Let’s start with Table the noun….furniture with 4 legs with a top that we eat on.

Here are a few common collocations:

  • The dinner table: where you have dinner with the family
  • A night table: found next to your bed
  • A coffee table: found in the living room
  • A roundtable: meeting at which people discuss something & have equal say.
  • Table manners: behavior you have when eating at the table

I was talking about chores for kids with a learner this week & three verbs came up. We perform these actions every day & kids can do them too.

  •  To set the table: to place plates, cutlery, glasses & napkins on a table before a meal
  • To clear the table: to remove the dishes from the table after a meal & pop them into the dishwasher or sink.
  • To clean the table: use a rag or paper towel  with detergent to wipe a table of dirt or fingerprints.
A table set for two people.

A table set for two people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Useful idioms:

  • I will put my cards on the table. I don’t like the way you speak to me. It’s disrespectful. (i.e. to tell someone honestly what you think or what you plan to do. Origin from card games like poker)
  • You should wait before making big changes. Get your feet under the table! (i.e. get used to the new job. Origin related to a new desk)
  • My brother can drink me under the table.  (i.e.  someone that can drink a lot more alcohol than another person).
  • The tables are turned. He’s got control now. (i.e. situation changes and the person at a disadvantage is on top now)
  • The board decided to table the proposal to after Easter. (i.e. decide to postpone a decision to a later date)

Fluency Builder: Discuss the following with a chat buddy or your teacher

  1. If a person has good table manners, how does that person behave at a dinner table?
  2. What do you keep on your night table?
  3. Who sets and clears the table at your house? Do you place your fork on the right or left?
  4. How long did it take to get your feet under the table in your current job?



2 thoughts on “Top Language: Table Talk

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