"Lay the table" would be a more common British english translation.
That's so bizarre, I would have thought "set the table" came from quite old English, especially 19th and early 20th century when the aristocracy had dinner parties with all sorts of different table "settings". Where the hell did "lay" come from!? (And how is it only common in the mother tongue!?)
American English is actually an older form of British English. A lot of the phrases like 'set the table' comes from the period when the pilgrims left England to settle in America. Then British English evolved separately into what we know today. American English also evolved separately, but a lot of such phrases remained.
"set the table" site:.uk 29,900 google results and "lay the table" site:.uk 139,000 results, I think you're right. Strangely for all of google "lay the table" 2,870,000 results is close to "set the table" 2,420,000 results. I do not think I have ever heard "lay the table" in Texas.
I had heard it among some of my older relatives in America but I am talking people born in the 1890s. This is one of those that would really raise eyebrows for younger Americans who would not have a clue about it. It is difficult to handle some of these common phrases which many times we are not even aware differ. Duo seems to be designed by Americans and favors some Latin American Spanish derrivative. But the users seem quite international. But this one should be relatively easy since lay is a possible definition of poner. As long as it doesnt come to expressions that really cause problems like I am going to knock her up tomorrow it should work OK. In case you aren't aware that sentence has a very different meaning in colloquial American English.
"Lay the table" is still not accepted on 8 December 2014 so I've put in another report.
I am English and although we could use either set or lay the table it is more normal to use lay. I frequently find duolingo using English which I presume is American but not excepting the way it would be said in England. I have also reported it. It is quite annoying. I live in Spain and I also find that some words are different and even more confusing the grammar is different and it does not except the Spanish version.
Goochie - twice there you used 'except' when I am sure you meant 'accept' - just a tip...
Lay the table is still being marked as incorrect (14.1.15) so I've put in another report.
Being British, I disagree with it being more common. It may be a regional thing, but I've always known it as "set the table."
"Lay the table" sounds like someone's having sex with a table. Though now that I think about it "Lay pipe" could actually mean lay down piping instead of sex, and laying down piping could be said as 'setting up' piping, so 'lay the table' is sort of a roundabout way of saying 'set up' the table. Or set the table. Sometimes the UK gets it right. "lay the table" is not an example of that. I'm with you on spelling it theatre though. I refuse to spell it theater. TheaTER. Ugh.
"Set the table" is used constantly in the US, I've never heard "lay the table" before. Obviously just an American v. British difference and both should be accepted.
I used "lay the table" and it was rejected so I have reported it. I am English and would use "lay" over "set" although both make sense!
In Ireland we say set the table. But that's not my problem. I put 'she is able to set the table' and it's marked wrong. Really annoys me as 'poder' means to be able to.
Being English , I would say 'Lay the table', but suspect from jeanniepq's response that one of the many Irish-emigrant influences has led to folk across the Pond saying 'Set' (which I certainly recognise as normal enough language, anyway)
As far as I know Duolingo teaches US English, not UK. BTW, is the "place the table" not correct? In another sentence with "poner" was the translation "place"... if I am not mistaken. :)
Duolingo accepts both US and British English as being correct, though it does seem to default towards the US version. It also teaches the Latin American version of Spanish rather than the version spoken in Spain. "Place the table" is not correct if you are referring to putting the cutlery out. It could be used if you were moving the whole table and putting it somewhere, but then that would not be an accurate translation of "poner la mesa".
Aaah... ok, then I was mistaken by the translation both Spanish and English :) I tought it is to move the whole table somewhere else.
This is something that should be addressed - I would never say 'set the table' and have never heard anyone say it. It is lay the table here and should be accepted.
How would you say "She can place the table" (e.g., in a certain location)? I put that answer and it was counted incorrect. Thank you.
Maybe colocar would be the right verb in that context? I've heard it used (I live in Spain) for placing things on shelves, in cupboards etc.
I have never heard of the expression "lay the table" except maybe when folding a table to "lay the table down". I live in California for most of my life and we all use "Set...". At least now I know what to say when I am in England. I am learning more than Spanish here. Cheers.
In Australia you can either set the table or lay the table, both are common. I prefer to lay the neighbour.
That sounds more like the equivalent to "she can construct (or 'put together') the table" - applicable to a table that breaks down for storage.
I'm confused by your comment, Melita2. I responded to virzak's question, '"she can set up the table" is incorrect?', and clarifying what his expression in English suggests to me, as a native English speaker, that is distinct from the idea of "setting the table".
Swing, I am likewise confused by your comment. My comment was somewhat off-topic. I was just saying that to put together a table (Ikea) would be armar una mesa. We may be saying the same thing.
I think that you might 'set up a table' if you were at a craft fair and had to put up a tressle table and then lay out your wares!
The usual expression in English is 'set the table'. You set up a meeting (=to organize). ;)
I am curious about this lay/set debate. I think positions in UK, USA and Canada are clear. Are there any Aussi or Kiwi friends who can weigh in on this?
I'm Australian. I've only ever heard "set the table". I've even got English relatives and lived in Scotland for a year and this is the first time I'm hearing about this "lay the table". O.O
Don't forget the Irish! (And the South-Africans, and many others!)
Anyway, in HIberno-English I think either will do. I imagine that "set the table" is fimilar to me from tv etc.
May not be as clear as you think! :) I've sort of stayed out of this one because, in Newfoundland-Labrador, which is part of Canada - though when my parents were born, it was still a country, pre-Confederation 1949 - there is a bit of a twist on this set/lay business. (I will also say that usage within Newfoundland will also vary quite a bit!)
In our household, we "set" the table if we were using it immediately. Now, you ask, when wouldn't you use it immediately? Well, if you were had early shift workers in your home - as we did in our primarily fishing community where tides made many decisions - you might be having "breakfast" at 2:00am. It was quite common to "lay" the table for that meal before going to bed. Everything, except the dairy and hot food, was "laid out," ready for that mad rush to get people feed and lunch boxes packed. I remember quite often drying dishes from the evening meal and "laying" them right back on the table, putting the pot for eggs and the pan for bacon on the back burner (bread was usually rising/or cooling on the front of the stove), and even laying the freshly washed lunchboxes and thermoses at the far end of the counter, out of the general stream of traffic, for whoever would be packing them in the "morning."
And there is the difference between "setting a table" and "laying a table" in my little corner of the world.
In many places, that distinction has since fallen a bit by the wayside. Then again, so has the fishing. However, it would not be the least uncommon to hear "set the table" or "lay the table" in any particular household.
never in my life, as a brit, have i said or hear "set the table". it's lay. why was that not accepted?????? :((((((
Well! We say Set the table in Manchester England, well ,anyway in my houshold.
I said "place the table" and it was marked incorrect thinking it meant putting the table somewhere, but then perhaps the best verb would be 'colocar.'
Would you set (out) the table? vs Would you lay (out) the table? It's like the battle over which end to open the egg from.
What is the big deal with setting the table, that is like the fifth time in one exercise. Lol
You "lay" something other than a table, deahhhh British English is for great, great grandma, In France we constantly make jokes at each other in my language class of French.
I wrote "She can set up the table" and it was marked wrong. I've lived in the USA for 39 years and always used that expression. Now that I live in Costa Rica, I am being taught new English by a Spanish course. Live and learn!!!!
'Make the table' was marked incorrectly. This is a popular form along with 'lay the table'. All should be marked correct
Many people have complained about the quality of the computerized voice. I've never had much trouble but this time puede and poner were garbled.
Never mind the lay/set debate, I am confused about the use of puede. Surely anybody CAN set the table (unless severely disabled) so what is the significance of saying "she can lay the table". Does this imply "so you and I don't have to"?
I think you've got it there. So-and-so can lay the table, so-and-so can put on the kettle, and I'll make the toast. :)
Each is a shorthand for 'set out', 'lay out', those items requisite to the provision of a meal. In this context, each verb is equivalent to the other, and custom and usage determine which is used.
No, put the table would have to have additonal information to make it a complete sentence: "She can put the table over there." This sentence is referring to the act of setting or laying dishes, utensils, trivets, etc. onto a table in preparation for a meal.
"Set" vs "Lay" aside, why is "She may set the table" incorrect? Does poder only refer to ability, and not permission?
One really has to say that either poder means both can and may or that the may which is asking for permission (as opposed to the may reflecting possibility) has no translation. Certainly when you would say may you use poder. In Spanish permission is one of the elements that have to be present to be able to say you can (like ability, time, money, etc). So I don't think using a word which makes a distinction that the Spanish word does not is a good translation. Beyond all that, despite my own tendency to grammatic conservatism, this distinction has remained a favorite of parents and teachers, but really is probably on its way out.
"Ella puede poner la mesa" accepted for "She can set the table" Feb 12th 2016
Australians say "set the table". I would imagine the English would say the same. After all us Aussies are English descendants
I must be in a time warp, I come from northern England and we alway say "set the table".
We often "make" the table in reference to setting it up but that was not accepted
the English would NEVER say "set the table"; it is ALWAYS "lay the table". In fact, this is one way of teaching the difference between "to lie" and "to lay"; you lie down or tell a lie but you lay the table.
In my part of England, we say "set the table". There are lots of differences in usage in various parts of Britain. If someone said "lay the table", I would know what they were on about. Why are we spending so much time splitting hairs over this non-issue?