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I read the following sentence:

Indeed, it was precisely because of its futuristic storyline that Star Trek was able to address many of the contemporary social problems that other programs shunned.

I am aware of the emphatic structure, "it is .... that..." and I think this structure "it was because of ... that" sort of resemble the "emphatic structure." Nevertheless, I still figure there are differences.
Could anyone explain why it is constructed this way?

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It is indeed a cleft sentence.

The direct form would be

Indeed, Star Trek was able to address many of the contemporary social problems that other programs shunned precisely because of its futuristic storyline

The subordinate clause precisely because of its futuristic storyline could be emphasised by simply fronting it:

Indeed, precisely because of its futuristic storyline, Star Trek was able to address many of the contemporary social problems that other programs

but the cleft structure makes that clause even more prominent by making it the subject of the sentence (strictly, the subject complement - the syntactic subject is the dummy "it").

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    +1. I think the closest non-cleft rendering would be something like "Indeed, its futuristic storyline was precisely the reason that [...]" that makes "its futuristic storyline" the subject.
    – ruakh
    Dec 6 '20 at 22:41
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The basic underlying sentence is something like

  • Star Trek can x because of y

We can transform it in these two ways:

  • Because of y, ST can x
  • It is because of y that ST can x

These transformations are analogous to:

  • The cat can sit on the mat
  • On the mat, the cat can sit.
  • It is on the mat that the cat can sit [...not the sofa.]

And so you can see the example as behaving like regular cleft sentences.

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