à étoiles multicolores

LorieC1Kwiziq community member

à étoiles multicolores

I'm wondering why there is no article before "étoiles" in the phrase "à étoiles multicolores". I was thinking it would be "aux étoiles multicolores".

Asked 1 month ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

If you're not talking about specific stars, you omit the article. Without it, the reference is to stars in general.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

So why do we say "tarte aux pommes"?

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

You know better than to ask too many "why" questions, Alan. It's a language.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Well, your answer was to a "why" question, but I suspect that the use of "à" in one case and "aux" in the other are both just idiomatic. 

With "de" and "des", there's a distinction between general and specific in many cases, but I'm not convinced there's a similar pattern with "à" versus "aux". 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Not directed at Alan, but shared as a personal experience for everyone getting frustrated with those difficult to remember rules and their countless exceptions:

In general, trying to find rules and reasons for everything when learning a language leads you down the garden path. The mindset you find yourself in is not conducive to learning the language on a fundamental level. You'll get frustrated quickly. And, let's be honest, most reasons given are really just renditions of "that's just the way it is" ("idiomatic" is a dead giveaway). Asking "why" acts like a filter for your brain: you condition yourself so that the fact will only be accepted and internalized if there's a suitable reason for it.

A child learns a language without even once popping the "why" question. Sure, adults learn a language differently from a child. But in the vast majority of cases it is better just to smile, close your eyes, and repeat the sentence or phrase a couple of times to let it sink it. Your brain will find a place for it. And soon you'll have internalized it.

à étoiles multicolores

I'm wondering why there is no article before "étoiles" in the phrase "à étoiles multicolores". I was thinking it would be "aux étoiles multicolores".

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