I have just come across two sentences:

Naja, kommt darauf an.


Die Verkehrsmittel - Bahn, Taxi, Mietwagen oder Carsharing - wähle ich je nach Reiseziel.

As I looked them up on the dictionary, both "kommt darauf an" and "je nach" carry the meaning of "depend on". I would like to know what is the difference in the usage?

2 Answers 2


Both terms express that something depends on something. They both can be used interchangeable while not syntactically but semantically in two variants with detailed reasoning or not:

Without detailed reason: kommt darauf an, je nachdem

The ruling reason is not specified further and might only be extracted from the context. It is general and usually means there are multiple things which might influence the decision for either. In a dialog there could follow a question like this: Worauf kommt es denn genau an?

With reason: kommt auf das Reiseziel an, je nach Reiseziel

In these cases the reason is specified, so it is a more detailed saying.


It depends on the context really. Both expressions mean that some decision/outcome depends on something else.

Kommt darauf an is often used as a standalone expression in spoken language.

Gehst Du mit ins Kino?
Kommt darauf an. Meine kleine Schwester ist krank. Wenn ich mich angesteckt habe, dann nicht.

I don't know of any general rule when which is used, but it is clear that each requires a different sentence structure to be valid.

Often, je nach carries the connotation that there is more than one choice, and the number is not explicitly stated, while es kommt darauf an explicitly talks about the choices that are possible, even if it is an "all or nothing".


je nach Reiseziel => There is an unspecified number of possible locations
Kommt darauf an, ob ich verreise oder nicht => I may travel or not.

That said, it is also possible to say

Kommt auf das Reiseziel an.

Which is then equivalent to je nach Reiseziel, but it can be used as a sentence, while je nach Reiseziel is incomplete.

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