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Is the first sentence a run-on? Should the second sentence use ":" instead of ";"?

Here's giving you the courtesy of informing you, beforehand, that Rahul, a new housemate, will be moving in this week. He appears to be a very calm guy; staid and easygoing.

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It's not strictly a run-on, but it's poorly written and has too many commas. –  Mechanical snail Feb 7 '13 at 12:50
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It doesn’t really sound right, either, as though it is written by a non-native speaker. You would never say that beginning part: “giving you the courtesy of informing you” is too much fluff, and an inappropriate use of the progressive aspect. –  tchrist Feb 7 '13 at 13:00
    
I'm guessing from the name "Rahul" that this is written by a speaker of Indian English (I may be wrong, of course). If it is, then it may be much more idiomatic (in Indian English) than the critics here allow for. I don't know that it is, but I do know that some expressions that are not idiomatic in UK or US English are in Indian English. –  Colin Fine Feb 7 '13 at 23:35
    
He is a native of the UK –  portforwardpodcast Feb 8 '13 at 2:42
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This isn't a run-on sentence, but it's verbose and not idiomatic. It's also not in a consistent register. The first part (which I deleted and rewrote) is a pretentious attempt at being very formal, but the rest is colloquial. It could be:

We're pleased to inform you that Rahul, a new housemate, will be moving in this week. He seems to be a very calm guy: staid and easygoing.

Yes, it should use a colon instead of a semicolon, or it could use a comma or a dash of some kind or parentheses for those last two words.

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I think that using calm as well as staid and easygoing is patronisingly tautoulogous here. –  Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '13 at 15:30
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@Edwin: I think that a staid person is characteristically calm but not necessarily easygoing. Easygoing people may be characteristically calm but not necessarily serious or sober or grave (= staid). There's an overlap, but they're not fungible in my lexicon. In fact, I'd have a hard time calling an easygoing person a staid person. –  user21497 Feb 7 '13 at 16:18
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Yes - staid and easygoing aren't tautologous (if, as you say, even compatible). It's the sub-classifying of calmness in a memo about a new housemate I think is out of place. –  Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '13 at 22:52
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I don't see an actual grammatical error in the first sentence, other than its large number of phrases, which make it a bit unwieldy. The second sentence should contain a comma instead of a semicolon. Semicolons separate phrases that can stand independently and the phrase "staid and easygoing" cannot stand alone, as it does not contain both a subject and predicate. It further describes the first part of the sentence, although "staid" may not be the ideal word of choice for this man. It can carry negative connotations.

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