I don't understand when you use them and what the difference is between the three.

For example, when you say:


3 Answers 3


Depending on the context, they can all mean:

  • because of/due to (a reason):

    There were many people who lost their lives due to the earthquake.

  • by (a method/way/means):

    Teachers check if students understand by (means of) tests.

  • by (identifies the agent of the action, particularly in a passive sentence):

    Who was this machine invented by?

    (just for comparison, here's that as an active sentence without によって):
    Who invented this machine?

  • dependant on (when highlighting differences):

    Lifestyles differ depending on the country.

によって and により are effectively the same according to Daijirin, but により is somewhat more formal than によって according to Daijisen. I'll try to break up your example sentence (and add one for により):

Because of a fire many forests burnt down.

An ox is taken by the horns and a man by word.

による is slightly different (i.e. による is used in the following example because it's talking about a tsunami because of the earthquake):

There's no worry of a tsunami because of the earthquake this time.

  • 1
    Just to clarify, によって cannot take a noun following it, correct? Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 9:52
  • 1
    Just to add a bit of important information that helped me understand this. Despite being written in かな, this よる comes from 因る(also written as 依る it seems). From there, differences stem from the usual conjugations: て form (よって) to connect sentences and dictionary form (よる) to classify names. To note that the stem form (より) has roughly the same meaning as the て form to connect events. On this basis, I'd say you're correct @bright-star.
    – Jak
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 14:34

による modifies a noun, and both により and によって modify a verb or an adjective.

により and によって are almost synonymous, although in the informal context, によって is more usual than により.


I ended up reaching this post because I was looking for the answer while reading through the grammar but I think I finally understand.

Like user797 pointed out, によって is depending on/according to.

But whether or not you were asking this, I think want to know the difference from that compared to both による and によると. I'm assumign this because I was the most confused about this. The book I'm using specifically says that AによるとB means The information from 'B' depends on the actual source which is 'A'.

人によって意見は違う。 Opinions are different depending on the people. (no direct source) 彼によると悪い判断だった. According to him, it was a bad decision. (direct source is him)

  • 7
    I don't understand this answer. Are you supplementing the existing answers to the original question, or are you posing your own question and trying to answer it? If it's the latter, you need to make this question a new topic at the site level, not within this answer.
    – istrasci
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 16:02

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