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I think 'People gathered around might discover' in the following sentence is ungrammatical. It should be rewritten as 'People gathering around might discover' People who gathered around might discover.' Do you agree?

People gathered around might discover, in the documents coming off the machine, the write­up of a colleague’s project that’s relevant to their own work, or a new company policy that might affect them.

Source: Who Moved My Cube by Anne-Laure Fayard and John Weeks

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No. People gathered round is perfectly grammatical.

Gathered here is an adjective, not a passive participle. (You can see this because there is no answer to the question "who were they gathered by?")

I admit that it seems a bit anomalous that the adjective is derived from the past participle but does not have a passive meaning (unlike adjectives like "written" and "seen"). But it is not the only one: gone, grown, and rotten are similarly used without a passive meaning.

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  • What's wrong with taking it as a participle here? They were gathered by agreement, or by curiosity; it's not important. – Anton Sherwood Sep 20 '19 at 19:30
  • @AntonSherwood: Curiosity gathered them? An agreement gathered them? Not in my version of English. – Colin Fine Sep 20 '19 at 22:27
  • How do you feel about “curiosity brought them”? – Anton Sherwood Sep 20 '19 at 22:29
  • @AntonSherwood: that one's fine. But "curiosity gathered them" is unnaturally poetic for me. – Colin Fine Sep 20 '19 at 22:39
  • Why don't the OP's just accept good answers? It clutters up the system so and the questions keep coming back around. Grhhh. – Lambie Jul 4 '20 at 18:15

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