Usage is changing over time in this context, which just goes to show that classifying nouns as "countable" or "uncountable" isn't always particularly useful...
So far as I'm concerned, all three of OP's highlighted instances of past tense can validly be preceded by all three "articles" (that's to say, a, the and the "zero ...
When we are listing multiple items, we don't usually repeat the article if the items are closely related or are considered together as one item.
the horse and rider rapidly get to know each other
The knife and fork began to sway and then to dance around the table
a chosen distance from the left and right lower control arms
In the title The Nature and ...
Neither of these are correct. "of which" doesn't make sense there. You could perhaps say:
The book whose price is high ...
But I presume you're comparing books, and want to say that the one with the higher price is more useful. So say that:
The higher-priced book is more informative.
These are periods well-defined by this context, so the definite article should be used.
To further emphasise this point, you might wanna use THESE abbreviations instead of THE abbreviations... if this matches your idea.
a. k. a., i. e., e. g. — Notice that the intermediate periods in the/these abbreviations are followed by hair spaces.
I'd use the the articles shown in the examples. In my head, there are definite semantic differences between their uses.
In the first case (The past tense is a grammatical tense, ...) the sentence is describing the specific past tense that exists in the English language. There's only one, that's what's being described
In the second case (In some languages, ...
I have never heard of Houston University. There is a University of Houston which you should use the definite article to refer to as "the University of Houston" because it is how the school is named. Also, it should be "a professor at ABC University"
I am going to pilfer Hellion's answer on ELU as it is hard to improve upon. And since this ...
I would argue this.
You need the article because the word dance is implied.
The tango is hard to master. [implied: The tango is a dance.]
The samba is not. [implied: same as above].
The waltz is not so hard to learn. [same thing].
All the above are dances and I would use the article. I would always use a the in front of any specific dance. However, not for ...
Because there is a specific time (last night), I would use a definite article. If it were rephrased to, "He was telling me about struggles he has been facing," I may skip using the definite article, 'the'. There is never a time I would omit the indefinite article when 'struggle' is singular.