Commending “commendation”

Dear Sirs:

Love the magazine.

Really enjoy first person stories and Captn. Sweeney’s column at the end of the mag.

Noticed something with recent issue #121.  It’s a small thing and has to do with English.

On page 25, in the “Tidewater Tug…” article, the bravery of crew members resulted in a “citation”.

One page 53, in the “Mate Injured…” article, brave acts of one of the crew members resulted in his being “commended”.

I think the use of each of these words in their respective context is clear.  However, I think the generic meaning of citation has come to be a negative thing, as in traffic citation.  Also people who violate the law are “cited”.

The dictionary attaches no such meaning as I suggest above, but I think ordinary usage has.

Further, “commendation” always has a positive connotation, and as such should, I feel,  be the word of choice.

I acknowledge I am not a professional mariner (just a boat nut) and “citation” may well have a more laudatory meaning inside the marine industry than I understand.

Keep up the good work.

Clark Douglas, Mount Vernon, WA

By Professional Mariner Staff