Rather, Come and See is an artful response to Tarkovsky’s original work and, on a broader level, to Soviet war films in general. His is a story less psychologically nuanced but more jarring than Ivan’s Childhood; it is “less ‘celebratory’ in tone” than its contemporaries yet with greater allowance for hope (Youngblood, “Remembered”). Klimov sought to tell a story old yet new and was able to do so in both subtle and profound ways.

Source: http://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/journal/past-issues/issue-3/brubaker/

Can you please tell me why the passage in bold has this word order? Why is there not "His story is less psychollogically…"?

  • 2
    It's a deletion of story for the sake of euphony (His [story] is a story less pyschologically nuanced...") and for the sake of contrast with the contemporaries, since greater weight falls on his, standing alone there at the head of the sentence as it does.
    – TimR
    Mar 28, 2017 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


You are correct and it would be more "standard" to have phrased the sentence as:

His story is less psychologically nuanced but more jarring than "Ivan's Childhood".

This writer has chosen a more artful and dramatic phrasing that emphasizes the possessive pronoun "his". Everything after the direct object ("story") is an adjective phrase modifying the noun.

Some other examples:

Theirs was a home full of light and laughter.

Hers is a tale of depravity and despair, but ultimately of redemption.

Ours is a country like no other, at the same time the object of veneration and ridicule.

The second idiomatic expression in your example is "less X and more Y", but it sounds like your understand this part.

Note as TRomano mentions in his comment, these phrases often omit words that are implied in other areas of the sentence.

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