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Do you say Los avestruces or Las avestruces?

I think I've seen both. Maybe both are accepted?

In singular it is easier, and maybe it just extrapolates to the plural. In singular it's El avestruz, in order to avoid two identical vocals together.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's masculine, so you would say el avestruz and los avestruces.
The confusion might come from ave, which is feminine.

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Just to complement the good @AlexisPigeon answer, I want to make it clear that it's not el avestruz "in order to avoid two same vocals together" -which is known as cacofonía- as you said in your question...

That happens with some feminine nouns such as el agua or el hacha, but in this case it's just because avestruz is a masculine noun and that's all! If you see las avestruces, it's just wrong...

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Thanks for the information –  SysDragon Oct 24 '13 at 11:40
    
While your answer is accurate, that last sentence is too much of a bold claim. If you google "las avestruces" and "los avestruces" you get about the same amount of results. This isn't exactly empirical, but it should show that the gender isn't exactly fixed and if a lot of natives use the feminine, then who are you (or any academy) to decide that it's wrong. To me, las avestruces sounds just fine. –  clinch Nov 12 at 17:18
    
@clinch: 1) If you google it using quotes, you'll see that "los avestruces" has 33% more results, which is quite a difference. 2) If Google gives lots of results for "las avestruces", it only means that many people who write on websites are wrong. 3) I'm just MikO and I can't decide what's wrong and what isn't, but I guess that some academy can, otherwise this very site wouldn't have much sense, because there wouldn't be anything right or wrong... 4) I'm not saying it doesn't sound just fine, I'm saying it's just wrong (at least according to some academy). Period. –  MikO Nov 12 at 20:06
    
1) 33% isn't nearly enough to show that something is ungrammatical. 2) If these people writing las avestruces are native speakers, you can't claim they're wrong. 3) Academies (and dictionaries) can't dictate usage, they document it, they're trying to catch up to natives. Natives decide what's right and what isn't. 4) See number 3. Take sartén as an example. The RAE recognizes that its gender is masculine in a lot of regions. Google results ratio? la sartén has 400% the results of el sartén. Don't want to turn this into an endless debate. Let's take it to the chat, if you want to –  clinch Nov 12 at 20:19

"... in order to avoid two same vocals together."

You're a bit wrong here about the rules to apply in order to avoid cacofonía. Even if avestruz were female, the proper way to write it would be "la avestruz". In order to apply the "cacofonía avoid rule" (sorry for the expresion invention) you need two conditions:

  1. The word must start with an "a" (or "ha" for the case)
  2. The accent must be in the "a"

For example, you have to say "el hacha" and "el ábaco", but on the other hand you have to say "la apertura" (the accent is in the "u") and "la ambrosía" (the accent is in the "i").

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Dudo que el ábaco sea un ejemplo apropiado ya que su género es masculino, a diferencia de los demás sustantivos donde se aplica esta regla. –  clinch Nov 12 at 17:16

Lo correcto es LOS AVESTRUCES. Por influencia del género femenino ave (las aves) solemos cometer el error de decir las avestruces. Según el Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas (2005), avestruz es voz masculina:

En la granja logramos apreciar a los majestuosos avestruces.

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