When you are conveying different bits of information in a sentence, you generally have an innate feeling of what the best sequence is in which to present it. In Dutch, the tendency is to begin with the newest, most important or surprising information, followed by any background information that helps put it into context. But in English, it’s exactly the opposite! That explains why this sentence…
Her ability to give a demonstration while making a speech at the same time is what impressed me the most.
…will sound not quite right to a native speaker, even though it is ‘technically’ perfect. For them, the natural structure would be:
What impressed me the most was her ability to give a demonstration while making a speech at the same time.
This structure not only gives an English sentence the most natural style and ‘flow’, in longer sentences it also helps ensure the sentence is as clear and easy to understand as possible, as you’ll see in the following example:
The ability to interact with other business functions and systems such as payroll, accounts payable, general ledger and tax accounting is necessary for a travel and expense reporting system to be effective.
This rather complicated sentence is immediately simplified by putting the background/contextual info at the beginning, and the ‘key’ info at the end.
For a travel and expense reporting system to be effective, it must be able to interact with other business functions and systems such as payroll, accounts payable, general ledger and tax accounting.
There can be exceptions to this rule when you want to put special emphasis on a certain element of a sentence. But, in general, by ensuring the key information in a sentence is at the end, it will come across as much more natural to any native speakers in your audience.