WTH is a misplaced modifier? Personally I can pick them out while editing, but I am very guilty of writing them incorrectly.
A modifier is a word or phrase that modifies something else. If it’s misplaced, well, it’s AWOL. In the wrong place.
Covered in wildflowers, the cowboy went into the field and picked an armful for his lover.
Read that aloud. It sounds as if the cowboy is covered in wildflowers! This is a prime example of a misplaced modifier. Let’s try this again:
The cowboy strode into the field, covered in wildflowers, to pick them for his lover.
Here are some other examples:
The stalker tried to film the girl laying out in the sun on his cell phone.
A woman wearing a white suit with sickly skin approached the table.
Do you see what’s wrong with those sentences?
The girl is laying out on his cell phone. — ON HIS CELL PHONE is misplaced. It needs to modify the word FILM.
The woman’s suit has sickly skin. — WITH SICKLY SKIN should modify the word WOMAN.
Sometimes you won’t catch these unless you’re reading your work aloud. A good beta reader or a picky friend might catch it too.
Hope this helps you look more closely at these modifiers!