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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

Might be worthwhile rendering it into partial English:

So, with that as the 元, ...

And 元 can mean foundation, start, beginning, entranceway, original,... it could be rendered many ways.

Essentially, this construction requires that there be a preceding sentence/clause/word to point to. (それが)

You could also see it as

それが元となって, or それを元として, ...

So you're wondering if it's related to それで or というわけで

Kind-of. というわけで is literally "by way of the [mentioned] reason" or "for that reason" in more natural English. The で in the phrase you posted can also be interpreted as "by way of [this] 元... (something occurred) "

Well you asked this over a month ago, but I wrote out this response so, I'll post it in case it's useful to someone down the line.

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We do not say 「それが元として」 (and it was over a year ago when this question was asked). – l'électeur Mar 19 '15 at 0:48
well, sorry for trying to participate, I just hit the Unaswered button and gave it my best shot. Yeah, it should be sore WO moto to shite, my bad. – sova Mar 19 '15 at 2:56
By the way, answering old questions is totally okay―it doesn't matter if the question was asked over a year ago. – snailplane Mar 19 '15 at 19:04
thanks for the head's up, snailboat! – sova Mar 19 '15 at 22:53
"Bumping" old questions is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, when you have something new to contribute. And old/unanswered questions even get bumped by the software every now and then. – blutorange Mar 21 '15 at 9:49

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