I was in a Teacher's selection for a school in my country, and one of the coordinators said that she heard a mistake from another teacher that was unacceptable. I tried to figure out why was that, but I thought it was silly and forgot about it. Then I was asking about the weekend in my classroom and one of my Ss said the same sentence. I corrected him according to the coordinator, as she is way more experienced than me, but I couldn't actually explain why to him. The sentence was:
I went to the church.
I can't see the mistake in this sentence if the church had been previously mentioned in the context of the conversation. I understand, as a non-native speaker, that if you are talking to a person that doesn't have any idea of where you were and doesn't have any previous information about the specific place, the article 'the' should not be used. Also, I am assuming church as a count noun. So instead, we would say:
I went to a church.
Is it correct to use the indefinite article since I don't have any idea of which church he is talking about?
I made a research about it and found that places that people use in common (like school, church, hospital, work) but are not necessarily the same, we would omit the article, so we would use the sentence that the coordinator accept:
I went to church.
Like this sounds strange to me, but since I am not a native speaker, I think that it is OK.
I really don't think that it was an unacceptable mistake, since the use of the article will depend on the context. So, if I am talking to my student, asking what he did last weekend and we were not talking about anything before, which one should he use?
Sorry to be so long. Thanks in advance for those who answer it.