Sentence Clarity: tips on how to help your reader
Go from old to new information.
To make reading your prose easier for your reader, you should move in your sentences and paragraphs from old information, what your reader already knows, to new information.
Put modifers, including words, phrases, and clauses, near whatever they modify.
Misplaced Modifier: Coming in for a landing, ground control radioed to the helicopter.
Clearer: Ground control radioed to the helicopter coming in for a landing.
Dangling Modifier: Flying over the ground, the houses looked like toys.
Clearer: From the vantage point of the plane flying over the ground, the houses looked like toys.
Put like ideas in like grammatical form (parallelism).
Not parallel: She wants to know the answer, how to do the problem, and the grade.
Parallel: She wants to find the answer, learn how to do the problem, and discover her grade.
Avoid using long strings of nouns as adjectives modifying other nouns.
Noun string: The biology prairie grass mowing and burning experiment. . . .
Noun string untangled: The biology experiment comparing mowing and burning prairie grass. . . .
Find verbs hiding as nouns and make them active.
Hidden verb: The eruption of the anger internalized within the crowd was obvious during the meeting.
Verb made active: The crowd erupted with internalized anger during the meeting.
Beware of overusing negatives in your sentences.
Too many negatives: This is not to deny that you are not wanted.
Clearer: We don't want you.
Help your reader by transforming the demonstrative pronoun this into an adjective.
Obscure use of "this": He wanted to go to the store. This made his parents anxious.
"This" as an adjective: He wanted to go to the store. This strange ambition made his parents anxious.
An example of how longer sentences are not necessarily better.