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Accomplishment vs. Award — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Published on May 30, 2024
An accomplishment is a personal achievement through effort or skill, while an award is a recognition given by others for achievements.
Accomplishment vs. Award — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Accomplishment and Award


Key Differences

Accomplishments are personal achievements or successes gained through effort, skill, or virtue. They reflect an individual's hard work, dedication, or talent in achieving a goal or overcoming a challenge. On the other hand, awards are honors or recognitions given by others, often an organization or group, to acknowledge someone's accomplishments, achievements, or excellence in a certain field or activity.
While accomplishments are inherently personal and can be a source of internal satisfaction regardless of external recognition, awards are external validations of one's accomplishments or qualities. Awards are often seen as a societal acknowledgment of an individual's or group's achievements, whereas accomplishments might not always be recognized by others but still hold significant personal value.
Accomplishments can vary widely in nature and significance, ranging from personal milestones like learning a new skill or completing a project, to professional achievements such as successfully leading a team or achieving a sales target. Awards, however, are typically more formal recognitions and come in various forms such as trophies, certificates, titles, or monetary gifts, and they often follow specific criteria or competitions.
The pursuit of accomplishments is driven by personal goals, ambition, or the desire to fulfill a certain task or responsibility. In contrast, awards can motivate individuals or groups towards excellence, offering a tangible goal for achievement and recognition. Awards can also provide a benchmark for excellence in various fields, encouraging others to strive for similar recognition.
While accomplishments are subjective and can hold different levels of significance to each individual, awards are more objective, based on set criteria or standards defined by the awarding body. This distinction highlights how personal fulfillment and societal recognition can intersect but also diverge, depending on the context and perspective.

Comparison Chart


A personal achievement or success through effort or skill.
Recognition given by others for achievements.


Result of individual effort or skill.
Bestowed by an organization or group.


Inherently personal and subjective.
Formal and often public recognition.


Can vary widely; significant to the individual.
Established criteria; societal acknowledgment.


Personal goals or ambition.
External validation and recognition.

Compare with Definitions


A personal success achieved through effort, skill, or courage.
Completing her first marathon was a significant accomplishment for her.


A prize or other recognition given in honor of an achievement.
She received an award for her groundbreaking research in biochemistry.


Stands as an achievement even without formal recognition.
He viewed mastering a new language as a personal accomplishment, regardless of any awards.


Often involves a ceremony or public acknowledgment.
He was honored with an award at a gala for his contributions to charity.


Varies in significance from person to person, based on personal goals and values.
Learning to cook was a small but meaningful accomplishment for him.


Requires meeting specific standards or criteria.
The film was nominated for an award based on its innovative cinematography.


Can provide a deep sense of personal fulfillment and confidence.
Her accomplishment in earning a degree filled her with pride.


Signifies recognition from others, validating the recipient's efforts or achievements.
The award for Best New Artist validated her impact on the music scene.


Can include personal, professional, academic, or physical achievements.
His accomplishment of launching a successful startup was years in the making.


Can inspire individuals or organizations to strive for excellence.
Winning an award motivated the team to continue their innovative work.


The act of accomplishing or the state of being accomplished; completion
The accomplishment of this task has taken months.


To grant as merited or due
Awarded prizes to the winners.


Something carried out or completed successfully; an achievement
She was honored for her many accomplishments as a researcher.


To grant an amount or other benefit legally due
Awarded damages to the plaintiff.


The act of accomplishing; completion; fulfilment.
The accomplishment of an enterprise, of a prophecy, etc


Something awarded or granted, as for merit.


That which completes, perfects, or equips thoroughly; acquirement; attainment; that which constitutes excellence of mind, or elegance of manners, acquired by education or training.


A trophy or medal; something that denotes an accomplishment, especially in a competition. A prize or honor based on merit.


The act of accomplishing; entire performance; completion; fulfillment; as, the accomplishment of an enterprise, of a prophecy, etc.


To give by sentence or judicial determination; to assign or apportion, after careful regard to the nature of the case; to adjudge; as, the arbitrators awarded damages to the complainant.
To reviewThe wrongful sentence, and award a new.


An ability that has been acquired by training


Something given for victory or superiority in a contest or competition or for winning a lottery;
The prize was a free trip to Europe


Give on the basis of merit;
Funds are granted to qualified researchers

Common Curiosities

Do all accomplishments receive awards?

Not all accomplishments are recognized with awards; many remain personal milestones.

What distinguishes an accomplishment from an award?

An accomplishment is a personal achievement, while an award is external recognition of achievement.

Is an award more valuable than an accomplishment?

Value is subjective; an award provides external validation, while an accomplishment offers personal satisfaction.

Is it possible to measure the significance of an accomplishment?

The significance of an accomplishment is subjective and varies greatly from person to person.

Can an accomplishment lead to an award?

Yes, accomplishments can be recognized by others and lead to receiving awards.

How do awards motivate individuals?

Awards can motivate by providing a tangible goal and recognizing achievements.

Are awards always based on competition?

Many awards involve competition, but some recognize individual excellence without direct comparison.

Can awards ever detract from the value of personal accomplishments?

Focusing solely on awards can sometimes overshadow the intrinsic value of personal achievements.

How are awards decided?

Awards are typically decided by a panel or organization based on set criteria.

Can one find satisfaction in accomplishments without awards?

Yes, personal satisfaction from accomplishments can exist independently of external recognition.

Can an award affect one’s career?

Awards can enhance a professional reputation, opening doors to new opportunities.

What role do awards play in society?

Awards play a role in setting standards, motivating excellence, and publicly recognizing achievements.

How should one view accomplishments without awards?

Accomplishments without awards should be valued for personal growth and satisfaction.

Can an accomplishment be considered an award?

Conceptually, they differ; accomplishments are personal achievements, while awards are external recognitions.

What is more fulfilling, receiving an award or achieving a personal goal?

Fulfillment is subjective; it can come from achieving personal goals or the external validation of receiving awards.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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