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My colleagues (who are teachers) are divided about the exact structure and meaning of the bolded sentence in the following sentence:

Improvements in diet, hygiene and medical science have led to the healthiest, most physically robust population ever known... Athletes today are stronger, hardier and more resistant than ever in history. So much is known about how to keep our bodies strong and healthy that every sport has taken advantage. Golfers in the 1980s never went near a gym; today's pros work out regularly. Women tennis players have enough upper body strength to blow away the men's top players of 25 years ago.

  1. Some teachers think that the sentence is an example of so ~ that ~ structure like “People know so much about how to keep our bodies strong and healthy that every sport has taken advantage.” In other words, they think the sentence means, “Since people know so much about how to keep our bodies strong and healthy, every sport has taken advantage." Here "take advantage" as an intransitive verb meaning "get benefits". Is this correct?

  2. Other teachers think that “so much” is qualified or modified by both (1) “that every sport has taken advantage (of)” and (2) “about how to keep our bodies strong and healthy,” and that the whole sentence subject of such combinations, i.e. “so much about how to keep our bodies strong and healthy that every sport has taken advantage”, is so long that (1) and (2) have been put behind, i.e. one in the middle and the other in the end, for balance of the sentence. They also think that “of” is omitted after “has taken advantage”, (here take advantage meaning “utilize or use”) and that “so much” is the object of the preposition “of” in “every sport has taken advantage of.”

  3. If Item 2 is correct, or whatever the case may be, why is it that native speakers omit "of" from a complete verbal phrase "take advantage of", as shown in the sentence above?

  • Improvements in diet, hygiene and medical science have led to the healthiest, most physically robust population ever known... Athletes today are stronger, hardier and more resistant than ever in history. So much is known about how to keep our bodies strong and healthy that every sport has taken advantage. Golfers in the 1980s never went near a gym; today's pros work out regularly. Women tennis players have enough upper body strength to blow away the men's top players of 25 years ago. – Heewoo Kim Nov 24 '17 at 0:56
  • It is all about the use of that and not so ... that. There's no need for of at the end. Please do not confuse yourself. – Kris Nov 26 '17 at 9:41
  • 1. Could you please explain the meaning of the sentence? – Heewoo Kim Nov 27 '17 at 10:40

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