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How should I know which one to choose?

When she was a girl, my mom would / used to live in a village.

I'd say used to, and that's what's marked as answer. But it's also confusing me - I could as well choose would because it describes past habits/actions too.

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    As a native English speaker, "used to" sounds much more formal and natural, and "would" seems very informal (almost informal to the point of not caring about grammar) and strange. I think "would" makes sense for past habitual if you're talking about a specific action repeated (like, "I would always ride my bike when I was little"), and not a longer state, like living somewhere. Also, let me know if this is unclear- I can definitely rephrase. – 米凯乐 Dec 31 '18 at 15:55
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    Would is not grammatical here at all. Live is not an action verb. – Lambie Dec 31 '18 at 16:13
  • Used to can be used to reference a single action/activity that extended over a long period of time, as in As a child I used to live in London. But would can only be used to reference a repeated, habitual action in the past. So the example above would only really be credible in a context such as We often had to move home because of my father's job. He didn't like living in big towns, so when I was a child we would live in a village (or more likely, ...in villages). Not a great example, but at least "credible" from a native speaker. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Dec 31 '18 at 17:18
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    There are some good answers here masquerading as comments... – Tashus Jan 2 '19 at 18:48
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As a native English speaker, "used to" sounds much more formal and natural, and "would" seems very informal (almost informal to the point of not caring about grammar) and strange (You could argue that "would" is not grammatical here at all. Live is not an action verb).

Using "would" makes sense for past habitual if you're talking about a specific action repeated (like, "I would always ride my bike when I was little"), and not a longer state, like living somewhere.

Used to can be used to reference a single action/activity that extended over a long period of time, as in "As a child I used to live in London". But would can only be used to reference a repeated, habitual action in the past. So the example above would only really be credible in a context such as "We often had to move home because of my father's job. He didn't like living in big towns, so when I was a child we would live in a village" (or more likely, ...in villages). Not a great example, but at least "credible" from a native speaker.

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