'As for "avoir peur", it's a fixed expression always followed by the preposition de (literally to have fear of), so when used with the definite article les, de + les contract into des :Il a peur des chiens. => He's scared of (the) dogs. In the negative, as we said above, les remains the same, so it applies to its contracted form as well: Il n'a pas peur des chiens.'
Does this apply only to fixed expressions ending 'de' as in the case above?
Indeed for verbs which are followed by the preposition ‘de’ the same will apply.
So if you said for instance -
Je n’ai pas rêvé de chiens méchants hier soir =I did not dream of nasty dogs last night (unspecific)
As opposed to -
Je n’ai pas rêvé des chiens du voisin=I didn’t dream of the neighbours’ dogs ( specific)
Hope this helps!
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