"The chicken is in the frying pan."
Translation:Kycklingen ligger i stekpannan.
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As a non-native I wasn't so sure about the in preposition. It sounded to me a bit like being stuck somewhere inside a frying pan, not on the frying pan's surface. Though, I changed my mind. I suppose the in has more figurative sense like being fried on a pan the traditional frying-panish way, with some fire under and some oil and spices on. On however would probably signify just laying on the surface on the pan, not being cooked or anything nice like that.
Hmm, well I'm a native speaker and it sounds fine to me. Nothing to do with usage or contents, purely physical location. I guess I can justify it by saying frying pans always have sides, so it's within the 3d space defined by the pan's sides and bottom (even if no lid is on top). "On" is generally reserved for things on flat surfaces or otherwise 90%-100% above the object in question (except for planes and public transportation for some reason!).
Prepositions are just one of those things that vary hugely between languages.
I agree with Yerrick, and just wanted to add that in or on do not define whether or not it is being cooked. Only the location of the chicken is given. And we would definitely say it is in the pan.
As a side note, for an example of saying "in the pan", there is a old commercial with a very catchy tune about a woman bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan. ("Bringing home the bacon" is a phrase that means bringing home the money.)