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John and Tom, working together effectively, were gathered in the basement.

I don't believe there's a problem with this. But what if you change the order to:

The ones gathered in the basement were John and Tom, working together effectively.

In this case, I am hoping to begin the sentence with "The ones..."

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First of all, you're doing much more than changing the order; you're adding structure and pronouns. Second, the original sentence has already been done things to, with a participial clause stuffed inside the main clause. –  John Lawler Feb 22 at 20:43
    
Yeah, I guess I did add a little. But is that an acceptable sentence? Or would you have to make that two sentences and add "And they were working together effectively." –  Sai Feb 22 at 20:46
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What do you think is wrong with the second sentence? Proofreading (which this is, if you don't specify what you think is wrong) is off-topic for this site. –  Peter Shor Feb 22 at 20:46
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Maybe it's just me, but I don't really think two people are enough to gather. –  FumbleFingers Feb 22 at 21:00
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@Fumble - I had the same thought! Still, Jesus apparently thought two was enough to gather – or at least the many of the translators did. –  J.R. Feb 22 at 23:54
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4 Answers

I think this is fine. But, I would reorder it as:

Working together effectively, John and Tom were gathered in the basement.

-or-

John and Tom were gathered in the basement, working together effectively.

Leading the sentence with "The ones" sounds rather awkward.

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+1 these are other perfectly acceptable examples. Also I too find "The ones..." awkward. –  miercoledi Feb 22 at 20:49
    
That poses a problem because I want to try and start the sentence with "The ones" –  Sai Feb 22 at 21:06
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Actually I guess miercoledi had a good suggestion too. I could play around with that. –  Sai Feb 22 at 21:14
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It was just John and Tom in the basement, working effectively together. –  Edwin Ashworth Feb 22 at 22:33
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@Sai Miercoledi's suggestion is excellent. If you insist on leading with The ones, allow me to suggest: The ones working together effectively in the basement were Tom and John. –  David M Feb 22 at 22:45
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Gathered in the basement were John and Tom, working together effectively

is good, I think. Several other arrangements exist, a few of which involve no addition or subtraction of words. As the writer, you have to decide which phrase is most important (viz., "John and Tom," "working together effectively," or "gathered in the basement"), and then place the phrase in the sentence accordingly.

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This is another excellent permutation. –  David M Feb 22 at 22:46
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John and Tom, working together effectively, were gathered in the basement.

Personally, though correct, I think the other answers still sound unnatural. As a native speaker, I would say:

John and Tom were gathered in the basement, working together effectively.

You could also say, with more stress on the effective work being done:

John and Tom were working together effectively, gathered in the basement.

.

Working together effectively were John and Tom, gathered in the basement.

.

Effectively working together, John and Tom were gathered in the basement.

.

John and Tom were working together effectively, gathered in the basement.

or stressing location similarly to the original:

Gathered in the basement were John and Tom, working together effectively.

.

Gathered in the basement, John and Tom were working together effectively.

All that said, "gathered" is a slightly unusual in this use referring to only two people. In any of the above examples, it can be removed without substitution. "together" is also unnecessary, as them being in the same place working effectively implies they are working together.

It's worth bearing in mind also, that all of these sentences have a very narrative, third-person storytelling sound to them - you wouldn't hear them in everyday speech.

If John and Tom are my friends who are building shelves in their basement, say, I would say:

John and Tom were working productively in the basement (, and then x happened!)

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John and Tom gathered in the basement, and worked together effectively.

or, if you want to sound fancy,

Gathered in the basement, John and Tom worked effectively.

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How does that sound "fancy"? –  Ollie Ford Feb 23 at 17:27
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