Some 20 years ago, I counseled a young female ensign on her helm commands.  She said all the right things, but her commands ended with a questioning dropoff at the end.  Such speaking is fine in the normal course of events, in fact some, as I was, had to learn not to be so harsh in the normal communications.  I demonstrated to the young ensign that a command, especially a helm command, could never end in a question mark, they rarely ended in a period and most often didn’t end in an exclamation point.  A helm command was a verbal order that could never truly be represented by written word.  A helm command ended with a resonance so disturbing that even the most inattentive would be compelled to act exactly as directed so that the resonance would end.

    i blame the consensus culture.  In consensus, you never really state anything but enquire as to whether your statement is agreeable.  The problem is, such non-declarative habit seeps into your actions, causing one to subconsciously seek permission when action is required.

    And we old people are accused of being mad or harsh when we speak in the manner of our ancestors.   

  • jj

    Funny you say that, JKB – it’s such a common problem.  And – usually with females.  Knew a captain who had down the chain a long-serving and very trusted 1st with whom he was a good friend out of uniform.  He’d tip the 1st the wink, and everybody would spend the next week responding: “Ma’am!  Izzat an order or a question, Ma’am?”  That’s about what it usually took, about a week, to get them trained.

  • http://furtheradventuresofindigored.blogspot.com/ Indigo Red

    “…the most aggressively inarticulate generation…”  I like that line.

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