It is necessary to know the difference between common, collective, material and abstract nouns in order to know which article to use. Singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns all have different rules about which prepositions to use.
Nouns can be singular countable, plural countable or uncountable.
We use 'a' or 'an' -with singular countable nouns
The – with specific plural countable or uncountable nouns
No article -with unspecific uncountable nouns and things in general
Singular nouns are any noun where we are speaking about only one thing, for example, cat, man, car.
Uncountable nouns are usually names for abstract ideas or qualities or for materials that are liquid, powders or gases and do not have a specific unit. Uncountable nouns do not usually have a plural. For example: money, flour, petrol, water.
Material nouns are usually uncountable and many abstract nouns are too-although there are some exceptions. For example: Oxygen, water, gold.
Abstract nouns are nouns such as: love, danger, fear and trust. The nouns describe a state or emotion and are also uncountable.
Watch our video to learn more about types of nouns and how they dictate which article to use.