dragon whose tail was/is golden flies....


Which one is correct?

A-The dragon whose tail was golden flies like a bird.

B-The dragon whose tail is golden flies like a bird.

C-The dragon with golden tail flies like a bird.
  • A is not good, because you've mixed the tenses.

    B is okay but is a strange way of saying it.

    C is the neatest, but "golden tail" needs an article (I would suggest "the").
    A. - the listener is expected to know that there is a dragon, whose tail was (but no longer is) golden. No information about the current colour of the dragon's tail :D
    B. - see Lingo's explanation
    C. - I agree with LingoB, but I believe the first 'the' covers the tail as well, so the second definite article is optional really (Edit: ahh, I am confused :confused: Sounds to me fine without an article, or, at least, I would not slash my wrists over its absence :D)
    Can it be "a"?

    The dragon with a golden tail flies like a bird.

    Yes, of course it can. As always, context governs which would be the better choice — but here we don't know the context!
    So, without knowing what story this is part of, we're left with the nuance between definite and indefinite articles.

    The dragon with a golden tail — tends to imply that he's one of several but the others have different-coloured tails
    The dragon with the golden tail — makes us think this is the only such dragon and he's probably rather special
    There are two different meanings for this sentence in English:

    1. The dragon flies like a bird, and the dragon's tail is golden.

    2. One of the dragons (the one with a golden tail) flies like a bird.

    Using sentence C ("The dragon with a/the golden tail") creates meaning 2, whether "a" or "the" is used.

    Using sentence B as written also creates meaning 2.

    To create meaning 1, use sentence B and add commas or parentheses ("brackets" in BE):

    B1: The dragon, whose tail is golden, flies like a bird.
    B1: The dragon (whose tail is golden) flies like a bird.