"Ayer nosotros pasamos una hora en la playa."
Translation:Yesterday we spent an hour on the beach.
I googled it, and here’s an example from an English classic (first sentence): http://www.literaturepage.com/read/scarletletter-122.html
I also see nothing really wrong with "passed an hour". Especially since DL usually prefers more literal translations.
However, "spent an hour" is definitely better English.
I just worry some will try to use "gastar" for this sentence.
Don't confuse the "literal" translation with the cognate. Usually the cognate is best, but not always.
"Pasar" has several "literal translations." These include: pass, happen, to cross, meet, go through (suffer), to miss (not notice), to become inedible, to fade, to spend, to overdo.
Literal translation does not mean it sounds or looks like! Pasar, hmm, most like "pass". Of course this is useful way of guessing a word you don't know as Spanish and English have many cognates but it's not the criterion for closest translation. Easy to led astray. Volver oh that's like revolve; recordar obvs record....
I agree, "Yesterday we passed an hour on the beach", should definately be accepted.
There are common English phrases that use "pass" to express the passage of time. While I personally don't think this particular sentence is a great candidate for that usage, it raises my hackles whenever I see people assert that "no English speaker" would ever say something that's perfectly good English. So, I won't argue against "pass" here.
I do think it's good to recognize that when we talk of spending time doing anything, the Spanish verb is pasar. As long as you don't make the mistake that mathchoo described (of using gastar), we'll all get along.
As a related aside, there is an allied verb to talk about spending time in a different way, tardar. I find the usage of these two (pasar and tardar) to talk about time slipping by to be really fascinating. You typically use pasar to talk about spending time doing something you enjoy and use tardar to talk about spending time doing something that holds you up. Even if you aren't familiar with the verb tardar, you will instantly see a connection to tarde. I think that's pretty cool.