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I know the following sentence is correct -

On the heels of the snow storm, came a terrible ambush of wild bears.

Can I rewrite this sentence like the following -

Coming on the heels of the snow storm, a terrible ambush of wild bears.

What made me come to this idea is a piece of writing I found on Internet -

An interesting note is that the new Iraqi ambassador had previously demanded an investigation into the killing of his own 21- year-old cousin in Iraq. The ambassador has alleged that his cousin was shot by U.S. Marines about a year ago. Obviously coming on the heels of these allegations in Haditha, a completely unrelated incident. But given those allegations flying around right now and the current U.S. investigation, you can bet that could make this meeting a bit interesting.

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It looks like a fragment to me. As noted by OWL, "You may have noticed that newspaper and magazine journalists often use a dependent clause as a separate sentence when it follows clearly from the preceding main clause, as in the last example above. This is a conventional journalistic practice, often used for emphasis. For academic writing and other more formal writing situations, however, you should avoid such journalistic fragment sentences." –  Damkerng T. Apr 27 at 6:43

2 Answers 2

I agree with Damkerng. Fragments are incomplete sentences (used a lot by journalists). Usually, fragments are pieces of sentences that have become disconnected from the main clause. One of the easiest ways to correct them is to remove the period between the fragment and the main clause. Other kinds of punctuation may be needed for the newly combined sentence.

Here, for example, the second sentence would be correct if it was written this way: A terrible ambush of wild bears was noticed /or seen coming on the heels of the snow storm.

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Vic: Please read this. –  J.R. Apr 27 at 9:53

SUPPLEMENTARY:
Vic's answer is correct. I add this to draw your attention to the context in which the fragment you cite as an example occurred. This is not originally a written passage but one spoken by a television journalist; and at the head of the story in which it occurs there is a notice:

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

There is no punctuation in speech, and the very minor 'error' made by the transcriptionist in this case was to point a pause with a full stop. The passage is perfectly 'correct' if repointed like this:

The ambassador has alleged that his cousin was shot by U.S. Marines about a year ago obviously, coming on the heels of these allegations in Haditha, a completely unrelated incident.

Context, context, context!

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