Let me give you some examples from my textbook, that were confusing for me.
- How many strings does ___ bass guitar have?
- How many players can be on court in ___ basketball team?
- Which European country hasn't fought in ___ war since 1815?
- Is __ spider ___ insect?
I "feel" that they can be spoken in either way, i.e. with article or without, but I'm not sure.
And by general concept I mean some class of common objects, like biology taxon... Now, when I've mentioned it, I'm starting to think that taxons cannot be singular words.
In these examples I can consider guitar, team, war, spider and insect as objects in general or as some "one" object. It's hard to explain, but I think it's an influence of my native language and Japanese. I suppose, any singular countable noun in English should be preceded by an article (or other specifying word). And general entities should be used in a plural form. Please, correct my conclusions if I'm wrong.