If the asadmin --terse option is provided after the subcommand name it is ignored. If provided before the subcommand name, the value is accepted. While all asadmin command options are supposed to be provided before the subcommand name, for backward compability, the values have been accepted after the subcommand name.
This behavior appears to have changed with the checkin of the command model caching code. For example:
$ asadmin --terse list-nodes
$ asadmin list-nodes --terse
localhost-domain1 CONFIG localhost
n1 SSH glassfish-x86-2
The output of both of these commands should be the same.