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As we know, Past Continuous is mostly used to provide context or background for main events (which are in Simple Past) e.g.

(I am in a bad shape) I had a firm grip in my 20-s because I was playing tennis

is it possible to use Simple Past in similar way, provided that we use the verbs which have no final goal and cannot be completed (e.g. "rain, play, study, work")?

are the 2nd and 3rd sentences correct? Do they have any different shades of meaning? Do I have to change them into "was playing" and "was working" to make them sound natural?

(I am in a bad shape) I had a firm grip in my 20-s because I played tennis

(I feel really anxious these days) I felt great last year because I worked at a bank

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  • The idiom is I am in bad shape; no a. And 20s does not use a hyphen. And the continuous construction is never obligatory. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 23:26

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In the 2nd and 3rd cases, simple past tense is correct, but a more idiomatic way of phrasing them would be:

(I am in a bad shape) I had a firm grip in my 20-s because I used to play tennis

(I feel really anxious these days) I felt great last year because I used to work at a bank

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  • Thank you. Could you tell me if Past Continuous in all those examples is also correct? Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 15:11
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    Or "I used to have a firm grip when I was in my 20s because I played tennis [then]". You could say I was playing tennis regularly/every week etc. and I was working at a bank. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 18:00

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