Compound Particles

How to Express Conditions: によって, 次第で, に応じて, を問わず, にかかわらず, なしで, and なしに


Last time, you learned how to express various means and standards, e.g. “でんによってくるまうごかしています (I’m moving a car by using electricity),” and “せい沿ってくるましゅつしました (I exported a car following the regulations).” The compound particles, which are によって and に沿って, have a single particle counterpart, で . In this lesson, you will learn some compound particles which don’t correspond to any single particles.

How to Express Conditions by Using Compound Particles

Table of Contents
Change Depending on Various Conditions
No Change Regardless of Various Conditions
Negative Conditions

First of all, let us clarify the difference between “conditions” and “conditionals.” We already explained in the previous lesson that conditionals indicate conditions by using main clauses and subordinate clauses, e.g. “if X is true, then Y is true.” By contrast, compound particles for conditions don’t create subordinate clauses, e.g. “X is true depending on Y.” Therefore, although both of them indicate conditions, the structure of sentences is different. Now, let’s check how it works with three types of conditions.

Change Depending on Various Conditions

English has a very powerful word to express conditions. That is “to depend.” However, in Japanese, we categorize conditions into three groups and need to use different compound particles depending on it.

だいで: The SUBJECT Will Change Depending on Conditions

はな大会たいかい 天候てんこうだい ちゅう(だ / です)
Topic / Subject Condition Predicate
The firework festival may be cancelled depending on the weather.

次第で shows us how the subject will change depending on conditions.

給料きゅうりょうだいやるじょう(する / します)。
Motivation goes up or down depending on salary.
かただいいんしょうが(わる / わります)。
Impression will change depending on how to say.

次第 is a noun and hence you can use it as a predicate in the state-of-being style.

結婚けっこんうんだい / です)。
Marriage is a lottery.
けんりょくだい / です)。
Examinations depend on [your] effort.

おうじて: Someone Will Change the OBJECT Depending on Conditions

[わたしたちは] せいおうじて ボーナスを はらう / はらいます
[Topic / Subject] Condition Direct Object Verb
[We] will pay a bonus depending on [your] results.

に応じて shows how we change the object depending on conditions. Here, English translation doesn’t work well, but they may be close to “depending on,” “according to,” and “as.”

品質ひんしつおうじてだんえて(いる / います)。
[We] change the price according to the quality.
おんおうじてちがふくを(る / ます)。
[I] wear different clothes depending on the temperature.
必要ひつようおうじてぼう接種せっしゅを(する / します)。
[I] will take vaccinations as needed.

によって: There Are Various Outcomes Depending on Conditions

ひとによって いろんなけん ある / あります
Condition Subject Verb
Each person has a different opinion.
Lit. Depending on the person, there are various opinions

によって expresses “variety” or “diversity” like “there are various outcomes depending on conditions.” Here, English translation also doesn’t work simply.

くにによってぶん様々さまざま(だ / です)。
Cultures vary depending on individual countries.
パソコンによってどくのうが(ある / あります)。
Each individual PC has its own original function.

によって has a wide usage and can express the same thing as 次第で and 応じて. Therefore, によって is most commonly used to express conditions.

給料きゅうりょう だいによって やるじょう(する / します)。
かた だいによって いんしょうが(わる / わります)。
品質ひんしつ おうじてによって だんえて(いる / います)。
おん おうじてによって ちがふくを(る / ます)。

The origin of によって is the verb: “よる: to depend.” Therefore, you can reword the examples above like this;

パソコンののうはメーカーに(よる / よります)。
The function of PCs depends on the maker.
やる給料きゅうりょうに(よる / よります)。
Motivation depends on salary.
だん品質ひんしつに(よる / よります)。
The price depends on the quality.

No Change Regardless of Various Conditions

Here, you will learn the opposite concept to the above one, which is no change regardless of various conditions. The function is simpler. You can just consider it as the counterpart to “regardless of” in English.

わず and にかかわらず: Regardless of

ビリヤードは 性別せいべつわず たのしめ(る /ます)
Topic / Subject Condition Verb: Potential Form
Billiards is enjoyable regardless of gender.

を問わず and にかかわらず have the same meaning and are the counterpart to “regardless of” in English.

経験けいけんわずエンジニアをしゅうして(いる / います)。
[We] are looking for an engineer regardless of his/her experience.
さん人数にんずうにかかわらずイベントは(おこなう / おこないます)。
[We] will hold the event regardless of the number of participants.

を問わず and にかかわらず are not so common in conversation. We more often use …ても since it can express the similar meaning. Note: you cannot always reword them. Here, two of the examples are applicable.

ビリヤードはおとこでもおんなでもたのしめ(る / ます)。
Billiards is enjoyable even if [you] are male or female.
さん人数にんずうすくなくても、イベントは(おこなう / おこないます)。
Even if the number of participants is low, [we] will hold the event.

Regarding the difference between the two, 問わず can be used with the following three groups while にかかわらず can be used with only the second and the third groups.

1. Nouns which have two aspects, e.g. “男女だんじょ: man and woman” and “大小だいしょう: bigness and smallness.”
ラグビーは男女だんじょ わずにかかわらず (できる / できます)。
Rugby can be played regardless of [whether you are] male or female.
2. Nouns which have some degrees, e.g. “年齢ねんれい: age,” “性別せいべつ: gender,” and “経験けいけん: experience.”
天候てんこう わずにかかわらず あいおこなわれ(る / ます)。
The game will be held regardless of the weather.
3. Nouns listed with their antonyms, e.g. “公立こうりつりつ: public and private” and “成功せいこう失敗しっぱい success and failure.” 
成功せいこう失敗しっぱい わずにかかわらず ちょうせんらしい(です)。
Challenges are wonderful regardless of [whether they are] successes or failures.

*Note: the difference between No.1 and No.3 is that 男女だんじょ is one word while 公立こうりつりつ are two words which are listed in a row.

Only にかかわらず can be used with adjectives and verbs if you list it with its antonym or negation. This is equivalent to “regardless of whether…”

あめらないにかかわらず、あいおこなわれ(る / ます)。
The game will be held regardless of whether [it] rains or not.
たかひくにかかわらず、バスケットボールで活躍かつやく(できる / できます)。
[You] can take an active part in basketball regardless of whether [you’re] tall or short.

Be careful. You may sometimes see this phrase: にかかわらず. However, this is different from にかかわらず, meaning “however” or “despite” like けれども and のに and referring to just one specific condition.

経験けいけんがないにもかかわらずごとが(つかった / つかりました)。
The job could be found though [I] don’t have experience.
ひくにもかかわらずバスケットボールで活躍かつやく(できる / できます)。
[You] can take an active part in basketball despite being short.

Negative Conditions

The concept of negative conditions is similar to the conditionals that we looked at in the compound sentence section, and we will again use the terms “actual conditions” and “hypothetical conditions.” Depending on whether the conditions are actual or hypothetical, you need to use different phrases.

なしで and をぬきにして: Actual Conditions

[わたしは] しょなしで ほん んで(みる / みます)
[Topic / Subject] Condition Direct Object Te-form + みる
[I] will try to read Japanese without a dictionary.

When conditions are actual, you use なしで or をぬきにして. They have the same meaning as “without” in English, but ぬきにして sounds more formal than なしで. You can reword this by using negative sequential actions: Verb + ないで. For the sake of better understanding, we’ve provided examples of both:

乾杯かんぱいなしですぐに(んだ / みました)。
[We] drank right away without a toast.
乾杯かんぱいしないで、すぐに(んだ / みました)。
[We] drank right away without having a toast.
建前たてまえをぬきにしてほんろんを(しない / しませんか)?
Won’t [you] discuss [it] with true intention without surface one?
建前たてまえろんしないでほんで(しない / しませんか)?
Shall [we] not discuss [it] with surface intention, but true one?

The focus particle は often appears in this context. That is to say, は is often placed before なしで and can replaces を of をぬきにして.

乾杯かんぱいなしですぐに(んだ / みました)。
建前たてまえぬきにしてほんろんを(しない / しませんか)?

なしに and なくして: Hypothetical Conditions

[わたしは] なみだなしに このはなし でき(ない / ません)
[Topic / Subject] Condition Object of Potential Potential Form
[I] cannot tell this story without tears.

When conditions are hypothetical ones, you use なしに or なくして. なくして sounds more formal than なしに. You could reword these sentences by using the conditional ば-form which also indicates hypothetical conditions.

りょくなくしてせいちょうでき(ない / ません)。
[You] cannot improve without effort.
りょくしなければせいちょうでき(ない / ません)。
If [you] don’t put in effort, [you] cannot improve.
失敗しっぱいなしに成功せいこうは(ない / ありません)。
There is no success without failure.
失敗しっぱいしなければ成功せいこうは(ない / ありません)。
If [you] don’t fail, there is no success.


  1. 次第で expresses “The SUBJECT will change depending on conditions.”
  2. に応じて expresses “Someone will change the OBJECT depending on conditions.”
  3. によって expresses “There are various OUTCOMEs depending on conditions.”
  4. によって is interchangeable with both 次第で and に応じて.
  5. を問わず and にかかわらず are counterparts to “regardless of.”
  6. なしで and をぬきにして both express “without”, when based on actual conditions.
  7. なしに and なくして both express “without”, when based on hypothetical conditions.

Congratulations! You have completed the compound particle section. As you learned, compound particles basically consist of a particle and the te-form of verbs, and there are some cases where they work like relative clauses. The variety of the usages may make them difficult to understand. Thus, we have made a table here showing all of the cases. Please check it as needed.

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