"The forks are on the plates."
Translation:De vorken liggen op de borden.
Literally translated would indeed be 'De vorken zijn op de borden', but that's not a correct Dutch sentence.
Maybe another useful comment Simius wrote somewhere else: I think a good rule of thumb is: if it could theoretically fall over, then Dutch likes to use "staan" to describe their location. Buildings, trees and cars are all standing. Towns, parks, rivers, roads and islands lie in their places instead. There are possible exceptions: if a building is low and sprawling, like a mall or something, then one can use "liggen" as well. Then there is "zitten" (sitting) which is typically used for smaller, more mobile objects.