Award or Reward?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Award" and "Reward"?

"Award" and "reward" are easy to confuse.
  • "Award" is a mark of recognition (e.g., a medal) for an achievement. For example
    • It is an award for winning the high jump. correct tick
    • I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis, and I don't deserve that either. correct tick (Entertainer Jack Benny)
  • "Reward" is something given in return for service or effort. For example:
    • It is my reward for working all week without a break. correct tick
    • The reward of suffering is experience. correct tick (US President Harry S Truman)
award or reward?

More about "Award" and "Reward"


An "award" is an honor (such as a medal or trophy) that somebody receives as a mark of recognition for an achievement. "Awards" are usually given after a decision made by a committee of judges.

Example sentences with "award":
  • He was given an award for 20 years' loyal service. correct tick
  • I never knew I'd be in a musical, let alone win an award for one. (Actress Nicole Kidman) correct tick
  • I feel a deep emotion and pride for the honor of having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1992. (Activist Rigoberta Menchu) correct tick
  • (Here, "awarded" is from the verb "to award.")


A "reward" is something (usually money) given in return for a person's service, effort, or hardship.

Example sentences with "reward":
  • There is a reward for information about the burglary. correct tick
  • We're offering a cash reward for the safe return of our dog. correct tick
  • Goodness and hard work are rewarded with respect. (Rapper Luther Campbell) correct tick
  • (Here, "rewarded" is from the verb "to reward.")


"Man gives you the award, but God gives you the reward." (Actor Denzel Washington)

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