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The gold is a precious metal.
Gold is a precious metal.

Don't use any article with material nouns, if used in a general sense.

Material nouns, used in a particular sense, require the definite article: The coal from the Midlands is exported to many countries.

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On Sunday I go to the church.
On Sunday I go to church.

To go to church means to go and pray; while to go to the church means to go and visit the church.

Similarly, distinguish between go to bed and go to the bed, go to prison and go to the prison, go to market and go to the market, go to hospital and go to the hospital, sit at table and sit at the table.

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Green is a beautiful colour.
The green is a beautiful colour.

Don't use the definite article before the names of colours when used as nouns

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The bravery is a great virtue.
Bravery is a great virtue.

Abstract nouns, if used in a general sense, can't take the article.

Abstract nouns, used in a particular sense, use the article: The bravery of the Spartans was renowned.

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A thief is a danger to society.
A thief is a danger to the society.

Use the definite article if society is used (1) in a particular sense: The society of the Greeks was based on freedom; (2) in the sense of companionship:  enjoy the society of my friends.

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