I found an example in that particular structure which is:

During a night-terror episode, the person will partially wake up screaming, moaning, or gasping for air.

It is clear that it means the first thing the person will do after waking up is screaming, moaning, or grasping for air.

I want to use the same structure but with the verb (dream):

I wake up dreaming of ...

As the process of dreaming is known as a fact that it happens during the person's sleep and stops the moment the person wakes up, would my sentence mean that the dream stopped immediately after waking up, or would it mean, like in the first example, the moment I wake up, I started dreaming?

I want to convey the first meaning.

  • No-one would misunderstand your sentence. You would say He collapsed while walking to work even though the walking ended when the collapse happened. – Kate Bunting Apr 22 '19 at 8:03
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    It's not true that you necessarily stop dreaming upon waking. Notably, people who have night terrors can continue to dream after waking. They are also sometimes referred to as waking dreams. (People can also day dream, although that's—mostly—something different. It's more similar to your sense of wish or fantasize.) – Jason Bassford Apr 22 '19 at 8:03
  • I don’t think you’re correctly interpreting the first sentence. It doesn’t mean that the person wakes up and then starts screaming and gasping for air – it means that they were already screaming and gasping for air before they woke up, and that this continues after they wake up. Similarly, if you wake up dreaming, I would understand it as the dream continuing even after they wake up. Or alternatively as being deliberately oxymoronic, like the expression wake up dead. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 22 '19 at 10:31
  • Also note that in the case you quoted, the boy only partially wakes up. He’s actually still sleeping when the screaming and gasping occurs – as the article explains, when he actually woke up, he “looked slowly around the room and asked me what happened”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 22 '19 at 10:34
  • @KateBunting _ I wouldn't misunderstand your proposed example either, but its structure is a bit different from mine. – Tasneem ZH Apr 23 '19 at 3:56

You say "I want to convey the first meaning," which is that the dream "stops the moment the person wakes up".

To be explicit about that, you would instead say:

I woke up from a dream of . . .

(You can also say use the verb tense wake, but I don't find it as common.)

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  • I intended to write "woke" actually. Thank you for your answer. Whether the person continues their dreams deliberately or not, would my sentence mean that and may mean what I want to convey as well? So it has two meaning and would better be avoided. I know the structure you have suggested, it is clear indeed, but I want to deliver the meaning in a less direct way. – Tasneem ZH Apr 23 '19 at 3:55
  • @TasneemZH I know there is such a thing as directed dreaming, where the dreamer, while asleep, is aware of it and able to influence their dreams. But while I mentioned waking dreams, I'm not aware of anybody being able to consciously continue dreaming while awake. Dreaming while awake, while possible, is rare—but also outside the person's control. (I believe.) – Jason Bassford Apr 23 '19 at 4:28
  • I didn't mean directed dreaming, I meant to say that I want to phrase the sentence in an indirect way (or less direct way). I don't know the word for saying such a thing but idiomatic would make the most nearer description that I can think of. – Tasneem ZH Apr 23 '19 at 5:28

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