The fork as an eating utensil has been a feature primarily of the West, whereas in East Asia chopsticks have been more prevalent. Today, forks are increasingly available throughout East Asia. The utensil is used to lift food to the mouth or to hold ingredients in place while they are being cut. Food can be lifted either by spearing it on the tines, or by holding it on top of the tines, which are often curved slightly.
For this former function, in the American style of fork etiquette, the fork is held with tines curving up; however, in European style, the fork is held with the tines curving down. A fork is also shaped in the form of a trident but curved at the joint of the handle to the points.