A concise sentence contains only the words necessary to make its point. Because it is free of unnecessary words and convoluted constructions, a concise sentence is also clear and emphatic.
A good way to find out which words are essential in a sentence is to underline key words. Then, decide which of the remaining words are unnecessary, and delete them.
In English sentences, the most common word order is subject-verb-object (or subject-verb-complement). When you depart from this expected word order, you call attention to the word, phrase, or clause that you have relocated.
“More modest and less inventive than Turner’s technical writing are Sam Miller’s landscapes.”
As you write, you can construct sentences that emphasize more important ideas and deemphasize less important ones.
A cumulative sentence begins with an independent clause, followed by additional words, phrases, or clauses that expand or develop it.
“He holds me in strong arms, arms that have chopped cotton, dismembered trees, scattered corn for chickens, cradled infants, shaken the daylights out of half-grown upstart teenagers.” (Blue Rise)
Because it presents its main idea first, a cumulative sentence tends to be clear and straightforward. (Most English sentences are cumulative.)
A periodic sentence moves from supporting details, expressed in modifying phrases and dependent clauses, to the key idea, which is placed in the independent clause.
“Unlike World Wars I and II, which ended decisively with the unconditional surrender of the United States’s enemies, the war in Vietnam did not end when American troops withdrew.”
In some periodic sentences, the modifying phrase or dependent clause comes between subject and predicate.
By reinforcing the correspondence between grammatical elements, parallelism adds emphasis to a sentence.
“Do not pass go; do not collect $200.”
A balanced sentence is neatly divided between two parallel structures – for example, two independent clauses in a compound sentence. The symmetrical structure of a balanced sentence adds emphasis by highlighting correspondences or contrasts between clauses.
“Alive, the elephant was worth at least a hundred pounds; dead, he would only be worth the value of his tusks, five pounds, possibly.” (George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”)