JLPT N3 Grammar – How to Say “Depending on” (niyotte) in Japanese

Posted by on December 2, 2020 – Japanese Study
how to say depending on in Japanese

Have you ever heard the phrase “による” (ni yoru) or “によって” (niyotte) in Japanese conversation?  This is a JLPT N3 Grammar unit that is a very useful way to express “according to” or “depending on”.

In this blog post, we are looking at the JLPT N3 grammar point: によって.

How to Use によって to Say “Depending on” – JLPT N3

First, watch the video above!  Yuka-sensei explains how to use “niyotte” in Japanese.  によ/によって (ni yotte/ni yoru) has various uses in conversation, making it a very useful grammar unit for Japanese conversation. Additionally, if you are keen on passing the JLPT N3, this is a must know on the grammar lists.

If you want to master all the JLPT N3 grammar points – check out our JLPT N3 Grammar Workbook!

Depending on the context, による (ni yoru) and it’s te-form can mean:

  • according to
  • depending on
  • by the means of
  • because of
  • due to

Let’s look at the examples from the video above.

による – Examples of Use Cases

〜によって違います

東京の家賃って高いんですか?
Tokyo no yachin tte takai ndesu ka?
Is rent in Tokyo expensive?

ふんん、場所によって違いますよ。
hunnn, basho ni yotte chigaimasu yo.
hmmm, it depends on the place.

This format is a very common use of “ni yotte”.  “Ni yotte chigaimasu” is a way to express something “is different depending on~”.  In this example it’s depending on the place – 場所によって (depending on the place) 違います (it is different).

Within Tokyo, there are various cities, wards, and municipalities – and therefore the cost of rent can vary depending on which of these areas you live in.  Shinjuku or the Minato-ward may cost much more, where as west Tokyo proper or out towards Chiba will cost less.  In this situation, it is most appropriately described using this JLPT Grammar point: によって違います (ni yotte chigaimasu).

AによってBが変わります

天気によって富士山が見えたり見えなかったりします。
Tenki ni yotte Fujisan ga mietari mienakattari shimasu.
Whether or not you can see mount Fuji depends on the Weather.

Now we are leveling up our game a bit.  This use of によって employs the JLPT N5 Grammar: たり〜たり as well.

By adding 見えたり見えなかったり (mietari mienakattari) after “ni yotte”, we open the example to include different outcomes.  “B” changes depending on “A”, and is either one state or the other.  In this case, “B” – mount Fuji – is either visible or not visible depending on “A” – the weather.

Make sense?  If not, watch the video again!  If you still are struggling to understand, leave a comment on the Youtube video!

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