Passive past in English
In the tips and notes section of the passive past lesson page, it is written "This skill is again one of the most difficult skills to grasp coming from English, since passive is not that common as it is in Danish". Personally, I use the passive past all the time in English (and yes I'm a native English speaker). Anyone else find this strange? Or do I talk funny? :)
I also use passive a lot in speech, and in scientific writing. It's really frowned upon when passive is used in writing (especially passive past, which I've heard get called confusing, obfuscating, and even distractingly boring). Maybe the course creators had been exposed to more written style. I think the other thing is that the use of passive in English doesn't always get noticed by people who are reading it, in part because it's formed by putting the verb in past participle form and having a helping verb attached instead of by the verb being conjugated in a particular way.
This post was mostly written in passive, often in past passive. So yeah, it's definitely something that has been used pretty often in English.
Oh I see! So I am distractingly boring! All is illuminated.
It is true that it can obfuscating and boring. There is a putsch to avoid passive actions, and even to eliminate the use of the verb 'to be' altogether, to the chagrin of the Knights who say 'Ni!'. Action entertains us more, I suppose..
Right, the passive voice is what happens to the subject, so in 'you were spoken to', 'you' takes a passive role in the action, and the action is (was?) in the past.