Why is it "début de l'hiver" but vêtements d'hiver" ?

Why is it "début de l'hiver" but vêtements d'hiver" ?

Asked 6 months ago
SteveB2

Graham,

[Disclaimer - non-native speaker].

I'm trying to locate a lesson/website where this is explained more comprehesively, but anyway, here's my take on this.

"Vêtements d'hiver" is effectively a noun (in the plural in this case) - "winter clothes".

"Début de l'hiver" is in the possessive ("the start of winter"). As is generally the case in French, we always need to add an article, hence "de l'" in this case (see here: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/possessive-de/).

If we had said "vêtements de l'hiver", we're in the possessive case, and it would be translated as "the clothes of winter" (poetically I guess this might work!).

Sorry I can't be clearer than this!

Why is it "début de l'hiver" but vêtements d'hiver" ?

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