the proper (something)

"Proper" means "correct". "The proper chain of command" means "the official rules for who to ask for help".

Use the word "proper" to contrast with doing things in a messy, unprofessional, or untraditional way. For example, if you just eat a piece of pastry for breakfast, someone might tell you:

You need to eat a proper breakfast.

A "proper breakfast" might be something like eggs, toast, juice, and bacon in the U.S.

This phrase appears in these lessons: