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She likes living in the country.

He likes living in the city.

"I like living in the small town" or "I like living in a small town"?

I have no problem with the first two sentences: "the city" and "the country" are set phrases, generic noun phrases. Interestingly, my native speaker tutor said I should use "a small town" here, not "the small town", but couldn't explain why. So why "the town" or "the small town" couldn't be generic noun phrases?

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If your preference is merely to live in a town that is not large, you like living in a small town.

If you preference is to live in the small town that you have already identified, you like living in the small town (that you are talking about).

The rule about using the definite (the) and indefinite (a) articles is the same whether you are are talking about towns, countries, horses, cars, persons or anything else.

You use the once your audience knows which (town, horse, car) you are referring to.

You use a for when referring to an object/item/place that you have not yet identified.

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