Capital expenditure of their company in the year 2001 _______ clearly below the spending in the year 2000 when they _______ about half the investments for the concept conversion.

A) used to be / had used (which I picked)

B) was / used (the correct answer)

Can anybody explain why my answer is wrong?

  • 3
    Used to be is for situations that have changed. If I say I used to live in Paris, it means I don't live there now. The capital expenditure of the company in 2001 cannot change because it is in the past, so it has to be was.
    – Minty
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


The expenditure of a company in a past year is a basic fact and there is no reason not to use was. You would use used to be of an ongoing situation. The company used to be based in London but has now moved to Manchester.

  • Yeah, "used to be" is not idiomatic in the above, but "had used" is ungrammatical. Remove the "unnecessary" (from a syntactic standpoint) words and you'd get "Capital expenditure had used clearly below the spending ..." -- clearly nonsense.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 12:16

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