Plural nouns with the definite article are, well, definite. Consider
Cats don't like me.
The cats don't like me.
The former implies every cat on Earth doesn't like me; the latter, that some (contextually obvious) specific group of cats don't like me.
In my opinion, yes, unmemorize that reference in your other question and memorize the following:
- use the definite article with a
plural only to denote a known or
stated subset of the class ("The
elephants [in this zoo] are
dangerous"); omit the article for the
whole class ("Elephants [all of them] are
- Use an indefinite article with a
singular to denote the whole class when you want to emphasize
the singular nature ("A glass of wine
is healthy, but two can lead to
- Use the definite article with a
singular when referring to a specific instance or when you need, for some reason, to sound like Sir David Attenborough in a BBC nature documentary ("The elephant is a regal creature, reigning over his home, the savanna ...").
Of course, an indefinite article with a plural ("An elephants are dangerous") and omitting articles with the singular of a countable noun ("Elephant is dangerous") are both just wrong, wrong, wrong.