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For example...

The Animal Control representative described the lost puppy as a golden retriever wearing a silver collar weighing 150 pounds.

In this case is "weighing" used correctly? My book says this sentence contains a misplaced modifier but I don't know which modifier is incorrect.

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What weighs 150 pounds? The collar or the dog? –  Jim Mar 26 at 4:36
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No. weighing is correct. The problem is that closest noun phrase is "a silver collar" so the modifier might be expected to describe the collar when clearly it is intended to describe the puppy- It is therefore misplaced. –  Jim Mar 26 at 4:39
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Why would you ask about the plural of weigh (a verb)? Weighs is not the plural. –  David M Mar 26 at 4:46
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Could you spare an and for use between collar and weighing? That should take care of the ambiguity. "The Animal Control representative described the lost puppy as a golden retriever wearing a silver collar and weighing 150 pounds." –  Kris Mar 26 at 6:18
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That's some puppy that weighs 150 lbs. –  Terpsichore Mar 26 at 13:45

2 Answers 2

Jim has adequately answered your specific question in comments, but I figured this deserves a complete answer:

A misplaced modifier is when you place a modifier (word, phrase, or clause - typically adjectival) in the wrong position in a sentence. The result is a that it winds up modifying the incorrect term in the sentence.

In your example above:

Weighing 150 lbs is modifying collar, not Golden Retriever.

To write the statement properly you could write:

The Animal Control Representative described the lost puppy as a Golden Retriever weighing 150 lbs. and wearing a silver collar.

or

The Animal Control Representative described the lost puppy as a 150 lb Golden Retriever wearing a silver collar.

Now the modifier weighing 150 lbs is located in the correct place to modify Golden Retriever. Or in the second example, weighing is unnecessary and has been deleted.

If you wished to change (the verb) weighing to weighs (present continuous tense to present tense) as you had asked about, you would modify the statement slightly.

The Animal Control Representative described the lost puppy as a Golden Retriever that weighs 150 lbs. and wears a silver collar.

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@bib oops typo! Thanks! I got it right when I edited the question. Just not my own answer!!! –  David M Mar 26 at 12:52

Misplaced modifier means that a word or phrase that modify wrong the object that it refers to such the example of above sentence. With phrase "weighing 150 pounds", it is the misplaced modifier. When we write it like this, it means the silver collar that weighs 150 pounds, but it's not possible for this case. In fact, it refers to a puppy that lost that weighs 150 pounds. However, we can correct this error by a few techniques below: + Add a conjunction AND to separate "weigh 150 pounds" and "wearing a silver collar" are all the modifier to puppy/golden retriever like an example below:
The Animal Control representative described the lost puppy as a golden retriever wearing a silver collar and weighing 150 pounds.

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