I saw a sentence like
After laying in bed talking and playing, we started dining on hamburgers
Is it grammatically correct or just a spoken usage?
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That is grammatically correct use of a gerund. Here, laying is the object of the preposition "after".
- A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding "-ing."
- Infinitives are the "to" form of the verb.
- Both gerunds and infinitives can be used as the subject or the complement of a sentence. However, as subjects or complements, gerunds usually sound more like normal, spoken English, whereas infinitives sound more abstract.
Gerunds function as nouns. Thus, gerunds will be subjects, subject complements, direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.
There are actually three gerunds in your sentence:
After laying in bed talking and playing, we started dining on hamburgers.
is the same as
"After laying in bed talking and playing, we started to dine on hamburgers."
The gerund sounds more natural in conversation, although that's a lot of gerunds in one sentence.
Present participles, on the other hand, complete progressive verbs or act as modifiers.
...we started to dine/started dining