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Chapter 19 of Donna Leon's "Acqua Alta" contains the following sentence:

Kurze Zeit später wurde die Tür von einem jungen Mann in dunkelblauem Anzug geöffnet.

Why is an article not called for here, as in:

Kurze Zeit später wurde die Tür von einem jungen Mann in einem dunkelblauen Anzug geöffnet.

This does not seem to fall into the rule, "We use the zero article when referring to people's profession, occupation, or origin."

And the very next sentence uses an article where a zero article would seem to be indicated:

Mit seinem glattrasierten Gesicht und den dunklen Augen hätte er zum Model getaugt, er war höchstens ein bißchen zu schwer gebaut, um sich gut fotografieren zu lassen.

I thought that with plurals, such as Augen, no article should be used. It cannot be demonstrative since it should then be either "denen" or "diesen".

Please advise.

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    I'm no rule expert, if you want to use einem you have to change dunkelblauen as well. – Shegit Brahm Jul 24 at 6:12
  • "I thought that with plurals, such as Augen, no article should be used." Why did you think that? – Roland Jul 24 at 6:58
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Kurze Zeit später wurde die Tür von einem jungen Mann in dunkelblauem Anzug, weißem Hemd und auffällig großen Schuhen geöffnet.

Its better style... with in einem dunkelblauen Anzug in there it doesnt work with more description and isnt as fluent. Also it lays less focus on what hes wearing, like stating it as a description on the side instead of it being the point of attention, which is die Tür, die von dem Mann geöffnet wird

Mit seinem glattrasierten Gesicht und den dunklen Augen hätte er zum Model getaugt, er war höchstens ein bisschen zu schwer gebaut, um sich gut fotografieren zu lassen.

Oh those dark eyes.... not just any dark eyes, those dark eyes <3... laying emphasis on the beautiful eyes that are his and not just describing his appearance rashly, also Mit seinem glattrasierten Gesicht is doing exactly the same, laying focus on his face while also sounding better than using 2x seinem(n) or 2x dem(n)

also bißchen is old, its written bisschen nowadays

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  • So the article is optional in the first sentence. It is not clear what about the context makes it optional. Suppose instead of "in dunkelblauen Anzug", he was "wie ein Schweizer". Would the article still be optional? – user44591 Jul 24 at 13:10
  • You seem to be saying that the "den" in "den dunklen Augen" is being used as a demonstrative pronoun. But should it not then be "denen dunklen Augen"? – user44591 Jul 24 at 13:14
  • Kurze Zeit später wurde die Tür von einem jungen Mann, der wie ein Schweizer aussah geöffnet. _no you need it here absolutely... – Sofia Jul 24 at 13:15
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    You really think that it is good to have to scroll horizontally to read the text? – Carsten S Jul 28 at 14:28
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