ni yotte and ni yotte wa

JLPT N3 grammar you need to know: How to use ~によって and ~によっては

  • January 28, 2019 / Lily Cernak

In this blogpost, we will be thoroughly dissecting the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N3 level grammar point ~によって / ~によっては ~ni yotte / ~ni yotte wa, including examples of the ways in which it can be used, why it means what it does and why it is used the way that it is, and similar grammar points that one should be careful not to mistake it for!

This blogpost is part of our series of JLPT study blogposts.

Click here for more blogposts focused on JLPT N3 level grammar specifically!

Click here to view all of our other JLPT-related blogposts!

Click here to view our blogpost about the grammar point ~よう ~you
(be careful: the grammar points ~よう ~you and ~によって ~ni yotte are similar-sounding, but not related)!

よって yotte

Depending upon the structure of a sentence and whether it is written or spoken, you may see the grammar point  によって ~ni yotte as ~による ~ni yoru or ~により ~ni yori.

These three patterns are all the same in meaning.

よる yoru (which technically can be written in kanji, but generally is written in hiragana) is an intransitive (not active) verb that means “to be caused by,” “to be due to,” “to depend on,” and “to be based on.” Generally speaking, it can be useful to picture[noun] ni yoruas meaningby [noun],” and then narrow the meaning down from that point depending upon the context.

The grammar point’s origin as a simple verb is the reason it may be used as ~によって ~ni yotte, ~による ~ni yoru, or ~により ~ni yori; since the first of these is simply よる yoru in -Te Form and the third is simply よる yoru in Stem Form. Oftentimes, verbs (including よる yoru) are conjugated into -Te Form or Stem Form simply to link two thoughts, phrases, or sentences together.

Here is one example of a difference in structure that may occur in ~によって ~ni yotte vs. ~による ~ni yoru sentences:


Kawa chan wa kasai ni yotte kega shimashita.

Kawa-chan got injured by the fire.



Kawa chan wa kasai ni yori kega shimashita.

Kawa-chan got injured by the fire.



Kawa chan wa kasai ni yoru kega de nyuuin shimashita.

Kawa-chan checked in to the hospital with injuries from the fire.


One thing that may help you to distinguish what grammar patterns to use with ~による ~ni yoru vs. ~によって ~ni yotte and ~により ~ni yori is to think of more literal translations of the above three sentences. In the first two examples, you can think of the ~によって ~ni yotte and ~により ~ni yori as putting an “and” in the middle of the sentence: “Kawa-chan was affected by the fire, and got injured.” In the third example, because the phrase 火災による kasai ni yoru ends with a Plain Form verb, the phrase describes 怪我 kega: “About Kawa-chan, with due-to-the-fire injuries she checked in to the hospital.


Further Usage of ~によって ~ni Yotte

Here are some quick examples of many (although not all) of the ways ~によって ~ni yotte can be used.


Kono bunshou wa Kawa chan ni yotte kakare mashita.

This sentence was written by Kawa-chan.

Note: In the above sentence and similar sentences, you can’t switch out ~による ~ni yoru for ~によって ~ni yotte.



Tokage ni yotte atama no katachi ga kotonari masu.

Head shapes differ by/depending upon the lizard.



Kawa chan no adobaisu ni yotte, tokage o kau ka dou ka kime masu.

By/depending upon Kawa-chan’s advice, I will decide whether or not to get a pet lizard.



Kawa botto wa denkiryoku ni yotte ugokashi masu.

The Kawa-bot moves by electric power.


Differences Between
~によって ~ni Yotte and ~によっては ~ni Yotte wa?

To put it simply, there is not much difference between ~によって ~ni yotte and ~によっては ~ni yotte wa. The は wa at the end of the latter is just the particle は wa, and (as in several other cases where は wa is added to a grammar point) while it may alter the nuance of your phrase/sentence slightly it will probably not change the meaning.

For example, if we add a は wa to this sentence from above:


Tokage ni yotte atama no katachi ga kotonari masu.



Tokage ni yotte wa atama no katachi ga kotonari masu.


Head shapes differ by/depending upon the lizard.


Both sentences are the same in meaning. Adding the は wa creates a little more of an emphatic pause on the トカゲ tokage (lizard) part of the sentence, but the change is a nuance and not an alteration in meaning.  

Note that in the above type of sentence the は wa can be added, but not in every usage of ~によって ~ni yotte.


Be Careful of ~によると and ~によれば

As we have iterated in other blogposts on Kawa Kawa, particles are extremely important. In some sentences, adding, removing, or changing a particle may be a more aesthetic choice with not much major impact on the meaning of the sentence, but in other cases doing so may utterly change the sentence’s meaning.

When translating or when creating sentences, be watchful of your particles!

One example of the need to keep an eye on particles are the grammar patterns ~によると ~ni yoru to and ~によれば ~ni yoreba, which look mighty similar to the patterns we have been discussing in this blogpost but are not the same in usage!

~によると ~ni yoru to and ~によれば ~ni yoreba are more or less interchangeable with each other, and are used to mean “according to.” For example,


Kawa chan ni yoru to, Kawa botto wa mugai desu.

According to Kawa-chan, the Kawa-bot is harmless.



Shinbun ni yoreba, Kawa botto wa kiken desu.

According to the newspaper, the Kawa-bot is dangerous.


The よる yoru in both ~によると ~ni yoru to and ~によれば ~ni yoreba is the same よる yoru as is in ~によって ~ni yotte, so one could also think of translating ~によると ~ni yoru to and ~によれば ~ni yoreba as “by [what such-and-such source says].”

The grammar patterns ~によると ~ni yoru to and ~によれば ~ni yoreba are used somewhat similarly to some uses of ~によって ~ni yotte, and so it is easy to accidentally mistake these patterns for one another. Be careful!


The meaning of よる yoru sounds fairly straightforward, but at the same time has a broader usage than “to be due to” or “to be based on” in English; and therefore there are some examples of using ~によって ~ni yotte that we did not have room to include in this article.

If you have any questions, or if there are any particular usages of ~によって ~ni yotte that you wish we had not skipped, please leave us a comment below!!


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Click here to view our blogpost about the grammar point ~よう ~you (another grammar point to be careful not to switch with ~によって ~ni yotte)!

Click here to view all of our other JLPT-related blogposts!



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