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Hundreds of people will be affected by the change. Es liegt an dir.

Hundreds of people will be affected by the change. Es liegt bei dir.

I wonder if "es liegt an dir" means "you are held responsible for what will happen to those people. It's all because of you."?

Whereas "es liegt bei dir" means "it's up to you to decide the fate of those people", with the repercussions of the change being yet to come?

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    Yes, that is more or less what these phrases mean. Jul 23, 2017 at 16:08

2 Answers 2

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(I agree with OP)

Es liegt an dir

You are the cause for what has already happened.

(Although you would rather say "Das liegt an dir.". I am not even sure if "Es liegt an dir" is proper German.)

Es liegt bei dir

Something is about to happen and depending on what you are going to do, the situation is going to change. A longer form could be "Die Verantwortung liegt bei dir." (eng. The responsibilty lies with you.) as in "You have the steering wheel, you can decide what is going to happen".

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Es liegt an dir" means "it depends on you " (and only you. Because you started it. No one else can fix this.) "You're the one."

Es liegt bei dir, means "it is up to you," (even though it didn't start with you), because you're the nearest one." (But if you fail, maybe someone else can step into the breach.)

The phrases are similar, but the first one is more urgent and exclusive.

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