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This question already has an answer here:

the chief of the National Se-curity Guard (NSG), which fought the intruders, told me that he was certain there were six terrorists in-side. He said two terrorists hiding in the airmen’s billet,which was blown up, could have been caught alive had leitunent colonel Niranjan not died while handling the bodies of the four terrorists killed earlier.

In this sentence how the speaker using "have been caught alive had". can u express the meaning of sentence

marked as duplicate by user140086, Community Feb 11 '16 at 12:37

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  • Would u please explain further about circumstances where we can make this kind of and here "had" used as verb, preposition or what – Manish Rai Feb 11 '16 at 10:20
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It might be easier to parse for you if we split the last part of the sentence into relevant clauses and explain them:

could have been caught alive

The possibility of catching them alive existed, but this clause indicates that they no longer can.

had Lieutenant-Colonel Niranjan not died

This explains the circumstances under which the terrorists could have been caught alive; if the Lieutenant-Colonel had not died, it would have been possible to catch them alive, but he did die, which is what caused this to no longer be possible.

while handling the bodies of the four terrorists killed earlier.

This is just an extra clause explaining how the Lieutenant-Colonel died.

  • Would u please explain further about circumstances where we can make this kind of and here "had" used as verb, preposition or what – Manish Rai Feb 11 '16 at 10:21
  • Check out the section on "verb first clauses" in the Wikipedia entry for clause: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clause . It's a condition expressed by verb-first order (which to answer your question means "had" is a verb here). – John Clifford Feb 11 '16 at 10:31
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I think, that in this sentence the conjunction if is omitted, which is quite frequent in conditions, if colonel had not died.... It is an example of structural inversion.

  • Would u please explain further about circumstances where we can make this kind of sentence and here "had" used as verb, preposition or what – Manish Rai Feb 11 '16 at 10:21
  • Had is a verb, it is part of the veb form called past perfect, which is used here to construct an unreal condition in the past, so actually it is not past perfect in this case, but what some people call quasi- subjunctive. If we use past perfect as quasi-subjunctive in if- clause we can place had before the subject and omit if, e.g. If I had had money on me yesterday, I could have bought that book. - Had I had money on me, I could ... – Fatimahon Feb 11 '16 at 13:37

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