Yes, technically one could say "The fruit is situated on the plate". But that is a preposterous sentence in English that no one would actually say 99% of the time. So I don't fault DL for not accepting it.
If you were in a restaurant in an English-speaking country, and you said, "the fruit is situated on the plate", you would be understood, but I guarantee you that you would be instantly marked as a foreigner.
But what is your motivation for urging/lobbying DL to change their answer? Why not accept the fact that the most idiomatic English here would be "is on the plate", followed (at some distance!) by "is sitting/is lying on the plate"?
If you were describing how the fruit is placed or the arrangement of the plate, it makes sense to use "situated." E.g. "The fruit is situated on the plate precariously," or "The fruit is situated on the plate between the oysters and the wilted leeks." It probably should be accepted here, but it's not the best translation.
We use the verbs ”to stand” and ”to lie” and sometimes ”to sit” where English uses ”be” in the sense of ”be situated”. So you can say:
- Var ligger postkontoret? (Where is [=lies] the post office?)
- Det ligger på Storgatan. (It is [=lies] on the Main Street.)
- Var är boken? (Where is the book?)
- Den står i bokhyllan. (It is [=stands] in the bookshelf)
Yes, I've seen on here "maten är på tallriken" and both "äpplet är under björnen" and "äpplet ligger under björnen" But we do the same in English. My phone is on the table. My phone is sitting on the table. My phone is under the table. My phone is lying under the table. (Lay and lie are two of the most confusing verbs for the U.S.) I can lie down on top of someone. or, I can lie to someone.
Hmm... I wouldn't really say that there are two verbs for "to be" in Swedish, at least not two of them that as convincingly mean "to be" as the "ser" and "estar" verbs in Spanish (I see some people were discussing that correlation above)! But I may be mistaken... anyway, here are my thoughts: the verb ligga looks pretty much like the English verb to lie (as in "to be lying down") and the German verb liegen, and those, as far as I can tell, do not mean "to be". Nevertheless, they can in certain situations imply that something is somewhere, for example if you say "The fruit is lying on the plate", it seems fair enough to conclude that it is, indeed, on the plate. Is it not so in Swedish as well? Lundgren8's post seems to be in accordance with these thoughts... Somebody help to unconfuse me, please!
Right, it's not like ser and estar in Spanish. ligger does mean 'lies, is lying', but the thing is that we use position verbs like that a lot more often than you do in English. So while saying 'the fruit is lying on the plate' is acceptable in English, it's not the most natural way of saying it. In Swedish though, it is. We use different position verbs for different objects, depending on their shape and intrinsic orientation. Tall objects and objects that have an important top/down dimension tend to stå. Glaset står på bordet 'the glass is [standing] on the table' but gaffeln ligger på bordet 'the fork is [lying] on the table'.
I'm not sure but, seeing the explanation above, it should have less use cases.
The verb estar can be used for physical state ( I'm here = eu estou aqui / yo estoy aquí ) and as a replacement for verb to be in a non-permanent state ( I'm tired = eu estou cansado / yo estoy cansado ).
From what i've seen, both ligger and står (lie and stand) are representing physical states only, not the second case - please, correct me if I'm wrong... I'm only learning Swedish too :)
PS I'm Brazilian, but I hope my post is still helpful for your Spanish comparison.
Not really, it's closer to "ficar". That is, to stay, to remain, to stand, to lay/lie, or to be on something (physically or not).
Like, a more literal translation from Swedish to English of:
"Frukten ligger på tallriken." would be:
"The fruit lies on the plate."
Or in Portuguese:
"A fruta fica no prato."