depending on the country / depending on countries

I’d appreciate it if someone would answer my question concerning the following 2 sentences. Thanks in advance.

A: Customs vary depending on the country.

B: Customs vary depending on countries.

I think A is right, and B isn’t. The reason is, in order to see the difference of customs at large, customs of each specific country must be cited, so a definite article is used. Is my explanation right?

I think ‘Customs vary with countries’ will be better. ‘Customs depend on the country concerned’ would also be acceptable in my view.

Hi MD.

There is nothing wrong with the original sentences. As you indicate, the singular is the usual form:
Customs vary depending on the country.
The plural would not be used in most circumstances, but it is not incorrect to do so.

I dislike Anglophile’s first suggestion and feel if you wish to use that type of phrase it should be:
Customs vary by country.

‘Customs depend on the country concerned’ is more long-winded, and as there are more succinct options available, this rambling version is unnecessary.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, Magic Dragon:

When I first read your post, I immediately thought of another sentence, but I did not have the confidence to post it.

Now that both a moderator and a trusted member have given their views, I do not feel so lonely in giving mine.

When I saw your question, this sentence popped up in my mind:

“Customs vary according to the country.”


P.S. In order to gain more confidence, I googled “vary according to” and found it used by many good authors.

Dear James

Thanks a lot again. I appreciate and try to emulate the way you always talk and explain things. Well, I may say one is better than the other, which, I believe, is not so sinful. In fact we see many expressions like ‘vary with’, ‘vary from’, ‘vary between’, ‘vary according to’ and so on. I think all the following ‘combinations’ are acceptable.

Customs in my country vary with those in yours. As they vary between our countries, we may say they vary from country to country. Customs may vary by country, so we cannot say they cannot vary according to the country. Let customs vary depending on the country. What if they vary in their observance!

vary with:
Fees vary with the size of the job ( … itish/vary)

Hi James,

You should have had the confidence. That common variation is perfectly acceptable.

Thank you, Beeesneees, for the confirmation.

— Thank you, anqlophile, James and beeesneees.
I understand there are many variations for my example. As a matter of fact, my job is to teach English to my students in my country, and I wish to give them only a few high-frequency examples. So I’d like you to choose often-used examples among the following sentences.

A: Customs vary from country to country.

B: Customs vary from one country to another.

C: Customs vary in different countries.

D: Customs vary depending on the country.

E: Customs vary according to the country.

F: Customs vary with countries.

G: Customs vary among countries.

H: Customs vary by country.

I: Every country has its own customs.

J: Different countries have their own customs.

K: Different countries have different customs.

A, D, E, F, G, H, I and K are okay in my view.

They are ALL okay.

— Thank you anqlophile and beeeseneees. I’d like you to choose often-used [often heard] ones. So your accepted ones are often-used ones, not grammatically-OK ones, aren’t they?

They are grammatically correct and often used.

Thank you beeesneees.


I am also a basic learner and the first thing came into my mind after reading the question was the same as yours. Vary+according is more often than vary+depend as i have observed yet.


very helpful explanation. Thanks a lot. :slight_smile:

Thank you, Nehamangal, for the interesting information.