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I understand the meaning of this phrase, but I have a hard time understanding how it's constructed.

In phrases like それで or というわけで you have a noun plus the particle で. This looks superficially similar, except that それが元(です) is a sentence, not a noun (or noun phrase).

What's going on here? is there a bunch of other stuff being left unspoken?

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any context for where you're seeing it? –  ssb Feb 7 '14 at 17:52
I have read this question several times and am thinking either the answer should already be obvious to you, or I don't understand what you're asking. Do you realize that you can have practically any sentence ending in で and then follow it by another sentence? –  Earthliŋ Feb 7 '14 at 22:42
aren't they different types of で? particle-で and conjunction-で (which I understood was a shortened version of です) –  momerathe Feb 8 '14 at 11:33
They're both the same; they're both the -て form of だ/です/である. There's a different で that's a particle, but that means something completely different. –  Sjiveru Feb 8 '14 at 16:47
Is this part of a conversation? If so could you post the conversation in its entirety? –  dotnetN00b Feb 10 '14 at 21:28

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