Can anyone explain what is the difference between these form of the gerund?

He published his first book after having returned from Africa.

He published his first book after returning from Africa.

well, In the first one, I think the action of returning has already happened.

but, I want to know if I can use the second sentence in place of the first one.

what are the grammatical rules for this?

I found these sentences on this site here

  • 3
    Does this answer your question? "Going to" VS "having gone to" in this context. Except in your example context here, the presence of the word after means there's no scope for any difference in meaning - so it's just a stylistic choice with no semantic implications. May 18 '21 at 13:24
  • I agree, it's only a stylistic difference. These all mean the same thing in terms of when something happened: After returning..., after having returned...., after he returned.....*
    – user8356
    May 18 '21 at 14:46

Nearly always with questions of aspect in English (continuous or not, perfect or not) the difference is not in grammaticality or in the objective events described, but entirely in how the speaker is choosing to set the temporal viewpoint.

If you use having returned you are setting the temporal focus to some later time - here, the time of publishing the book.

If you use returning you are not setting any particular temporal focus.

The significance of setting or not setting a temporal focus may have practical effects on how following sentences are interpreted; but often it has no objective effect on the meaning, just on how the speaker is choosing to place their narrative (and by extension their hearers) in time.

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