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I have this sentence from one of my IELTS books:

One of the reasons scientists think that there is a link between stress and cancer is the idea that there may be a cancer-prone personality

At first, I think that the main subject of this sentence is "one of the reasons", the verb is "is", and the object is "the idea". But after a while, I think this sentence can be rewritten like this:

Scientists think one of the reasons that there is a link between stress and cancer is the idea that there may be a cancer-prone personality

which makes me think the real main subject is "scientists", and the main verb is "think"

So I have 2 questions here:

  1. What is the main subject and main verb in this sentence?

  2. If the original sentence is "scientists think one of the reasons...", then what mechanism allow us to move object "one of the reasons" before the subject "scientists"?

  • "The idea that ... personality" is "One of the reasons scientists think that ... cancer" -- not the way you parsed it. – Kris Jul 25 '18 at 5:51
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I'm no expert at grammar but the following is my best effort at explaining a quite complicated (and, in my view, clumsily worded) sentence.

First, it's easier to see what's going on if you cut out the subordinate clauses, reducing the sentence to:

One of the reasons is the idea.

You should now be able to see that the subject is "One", which is modified by the prepositional phrase "of the reasons". The verb is "is" and the object is "the idea".

Of course this stripped-back sentence only makes sense if you know what "reasons" and "idea" are each referring to. Let's look at the omitted parts of the sentence to see the role they play in making the sentence meaningful.

  • "reasons" is further explained by the clause-within-a-clause "[that] scientists think that there is a link between stress and cancer". Note that in English we like taking shortcuts such as omitting conjunctions - especially when it's "that" and there are other occurrences of "that" in the sentence.

  • "the idea" is further explained by the relative clause "that there may be a cancer-prone personality."

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    Great answer. I think it answers my question completely. Thanks a lot – le duc quang Jul 26 '18 at 13:32

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