Today, the World Bank has released its Logistics Performance Index 2014. The report is titled “Connecting to Compete 2014: Trade Logistics in the Global Economy”. The index, which is based on survey data collected from more than 1,000 logistics managers, allows a comparison of 160 countries in terms of trade dimensions, such as infrastructure quality, customs performance and timeliness of shipments. It is a valuable resource for researchers, business executives and politicians to analyze the current state of logistics in the world. The results of the new report “point to Germany as the best performing country with an LPI score of 4.12 […] (on a scale of 1 to 5)”. Moreover, “15 of 28 European Union (EU) member states and 23 of 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members were among the top 30 countries”. The report highlights that “[s]upply chains—only as strong as their weakest links—are becoming more and more complex, often spanning many countries while remaining critical to national competitiveness”.
Some time ago, I showed that a combination of correctly spelled English words (“word level”) does not automatically generate a good sentence (“sentence level”). This time, I will broaden the scope even further by discussing the “paragraph level”. With respect to paragraph structure, several languages are less restrictive than academic English. I often observe that speakers of these languages mistakenly transfer the freedom of their own language to texts written in academic English. A paragraph almost always starts with a topic sentence, which expresses a single controlling idea. This sentence is followed by supporting sentences, which explain the idea of the first sentence. A paragraph typically ends with a concluding sentence, which summarizes the current paragraph and/or transitions to the idea of the next one. The web page of the Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides further information on paragraph writing, including examples.