-"When do you usually eat?

-It's different "

(meaning, "it changes from day to day")

If it exists, is there a difference with "it depends"?

  • 3
    It would be a little better to say It differs.
    – Barmar
    Apr 7 '16 at 19:54
  • 3
    Or, one might say "It varies." "It's different" is a nonsensical response to that question.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 7 '16 at 20:42


As a speaker of British English, I would probably understand your intention, but it would require a small amount of effort or 'generosity' on my part. If you encountered a native speaker less benevolent than myself, somebody who was in the mood to be a bit stubborn or unhelpful, they could plausibly claim to simply not understand you. At any rate, it is not idiomatic.

This is because to say that something is 'different', you are necessarily juxtaposing it with some other concrete thing and highlighting the… well, the difference between the two things.

This is not to say that you are doomed to fall back on 'it depends' time and time again, though choice is limited. The only alternative I can think of at the moment is 'it varies'.

  • +1 A good and correct answer, though slightly verbose.
    – WS2
    Apr 7 '16 at 21:21

You can, in some circumstances, use "it's different" the same way as "it depends" In your example both phrases are understandable in context to mean that you do not eat at the same time every day.

However there are many instances where you cannot use these phrases interchangeably. Examples:

  • What do you want to eat tonight? "It depends" works, whereas "It's different" does not.

  • When will you eat that ice cream cone? Again "It's different" does
    not work in place of "It depends"

  • Is that the same kind of sandwich that you ate yesterday? "It's
    different" makes sense where "It depends" is pretty flippant

Hopefully this was helpful to you


Implication allows these to mean the same thing.

It's different (from day to day).


It's different (depending on the day).


It depends (on the day, I'll have something different each time).

The implied meaning is the same. This may be understood.

It's the literal objective meaning that doesn't match. If we don't fill in the blanks these are just not the same. Being different doesn't have to depend on anything. It's just different.

Strictly speaking, if you hear someone say this, it should be transcribed as.

It's different...

It's not the best choice of words. But it is a valid example of usage.

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