To set the table in Italian

How do you translate the expression to set the table in Italian?

In this lesson we’ll take a look at this very expression, also known as collocation, and will even talk about what kind of different tables are there in Italian and what words you can use to describe what’s on a dinner table.

Let’s go! Iniziamo!


To set the table in Italian

First things first, let’s translate to set the table in Italian.

Apparecchiare la tavola
To set the table

You can also translate it as preparare la tavola, literally “to prepare the table”.

Preparare la tavola
To set the table

to set the table in italian - apparecchiare la tavola - a man and a woman eating dinner

To set the table in Italian – Let’s break this up!

Apparecchiare la tavola could be literally translated as to set up the table.

Apparecchiare
To set up, to prepare (the table)

La tavola
The table

The verb apparecchiare derives from apparecchio, which means appliance or device.

Apparecchiare is very specific: you can actually use this verb alone to translate to set the table in Italian.

La mamma apparecchia.
Mom sets the table.

La mamma apparecchia la tavola.
Mom sets the table.

For this purpose, preparare is a more generic verb and cannot be used alone, so you have to say preparare la tavola.

to set the table in italian - mamma apparecchia - tea and sweets

Apparecchiare and preparare

Apparecchiare and preparare are verbs of the first -are group. Their indicativo presente conjugations are as follows.

ioapparecchio, preparo
tuapparecchi, prepari
lui, leiapparecchia, prepara
noiapparecchiamo, prepariamo
voiapparecchiate, preparate
loroapparecchiano, preparano

You will find preparare in a number of expressions. Some of these are:

Preparare la cena
To make dinner

Preparare le valigie
To pack (one’s suitcases)

Preparare uno spuntino
To prepare a snack

For example, you could say:

Se tu lavi i piatti, io preparo la cena.
If you do the dishes, I’ll make dinner.

Domani partiamo per New York e devo ancora preparare le valigie!
Tomorrow we leave for New York and I still have to pack!

Starai via tutto il giorno? Lascia che ti prepari uno spuntino.
Will you be out all day? Let me make you a snack.

how to say to set the table in italian - two kids cooking

Tavola

We said that the translation for to set the table in Italian is apparecchiare la tavola. Tavola is a feminine noun. It is often followed by a descriptive adjective.

Una tavola
A table

Delle tavole
Some tables

La tavola
The table

Le tavole
The tales

il tavolo, la tavola - the table - brown circular table

La cena è in tavola!
Dinner is ready!
Literally: Dinner is on the table!

Vorrei prenotare un tavolo da tre, per favore.
I would like to reserve a table for three people, please.

What’s the difference between tavola and tavolo?
Tavola usually refers to the table you use for eating. Tavolo more commonly refers to a specific piece of furniture.
We never say: preparare il tavolo.
But when you want to reserve a table at a restaurant, you actually say vorrei prenotare un tavolo, I would like to reserve a table. See here for more!

What can you set the table with? Here are a few suggestions:

Piatti
Dishes

Bicchieri
Glasses

Cucchiai
Spoons

Forchette
Forks

Coltelli
Knives

Cutlery
Posate

Servono dei piatti più grandi.
Larger plates are needed.

Questo bicchiere è sporco.
This glass is dirty.

Non posso mangiare la minestra con una forchetta!
I can’t eat soup with a fork!

to set the table in italian - spoon and fork

To set the table in Italian – Examples

La mamma mi ha chiesto di apparecchiare la tavola.
Mom asked me to set the table.

Alan prepara la tavola mentre Sarah cucina.
Alan sets the table for lunch while Sarah cooks.

Apparecchiò la tavola con piatti, bicchieri e posate.
He set the table with plates, glasses and cutlery.


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