What the phrase "can be anything other than" in the given sentence means i.e. how can it be interpreted in any sentence or how it affects on any sentence or what is the overal meaning of the sentence?

It is doubtful whether an investor's snipping at management can ever be anything other than counterproductive.

  • Please elaborate on what you're looking for. By "role", do you mean parts of speech, rhetoric, intent, or something else?
    – Lawrence
    Dec 7, 2018 at 15:25
  • 1
    I presume there’s a typo and the original used the verb sniping. Oct 10, 2023 at 3:22

2 Answers 2


In the given context: can be anything other than =~ can be different from (what is called 'counterproductive'). In other words:

Unlikely an investor's snipping at management can be qualified with another adjective, different from 'counterproductive'.


Cannot be anything other than is another way of saying can only be (x and nothing else). So your sentence says:

It is most likely that an investor's snipping at management can only be counterproductive.

It cannot possess any other quality but this one.

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