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Award vs. Reward

Is award and reward the same thing? No! Award is a huge prize for someone’s achievements. Reward is a small token of appreciation for someone’s efforts. For example, you are the topper of the university – you get a medal – that’s an award! You go home, tell about it to your parents – they reward you with a new laptop – yeah! Award is thus more formal than reward.

2:55 min read
  Ramya Shankar  —  Grammar Tips
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Award can be used as a noun or a verb. It means a prize or a grant given to someone for doing something big.

In late middle English, award was used to denote ‘issuing of judicial decision’ which was a variant of the old French word ‘esguarder’ meaning consider or ordain.

As of today, award is used in legal and formal contexts, and can be used in positive and negative sense. Examples

·         As a result of his continued good work, he has been awarded a scholarship of 3 years.

·         I received the student of the year award for 2018 and it was a proud moment.

·         The man was awarded a death sentence as a result of the heinous murder he had committed.

·         We can award about 10% hike to employees with appraisal rating above 4.

·         The contract was awarded to the most deserving company after thorough investigation.


Though marked as the synonym of award, there is a thin line of difference between both the words. The words differ in their roots – reward comes from the old French ‘reguard’ or regard, which became the middle English reward.

Unlike award, reward need not be a physical entity. For example, reward can be in the form of love too – “The best reward of motherhood is the innocent smile of her little one.”

Reward is also less formal and used when we get something in exchange for a good behaviour or action.

Reward is also some amount of money given to a person who provides crucial information to police about something. For example, a notice – “A reward of $100000 has been set for the person who shares information about the criminal.”

Examples –

Award vs. Reward

·         You will certainly be rewarded for your good work.

·         The employees were rewarded with a gift voucher for their dance performance.

·         For all the good deeds you did, god has rewarded you with this beautiful family.

·         The reward for coming late to my class is to write 100 times in your notebook that you will be on time from tomorrow.

·         Anyone who informs the police about the criminal’s whereabouts will be rewarded with a handsome amount of money.

·         The rewards of a good friendship are many.

With nominations, use awards – I have been nominated for the award of the best singer in college.

When there are feelings attached, use reward – That my work has been appreciated by so many people is the greatest reward for me.

Phrase – go to one’s reward

It is a euphemistic term that means to die.

The intention is that people get their due (or reward) after they die and go to eternity.

“I am sorry to hear that your grandmother has gone to her reward!”

“My dog went to its reward last summer as it couldn’t bear the harsh heat!”

Hope you have got the hang of when to use award and when to use reward through this article! 

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  • Bodyguard
    please i want u to read the small piece of information which will help u to use these word in their right literal meanings.
    LikeReply3 years ago
  • Vance
    There's nobody else here-
    LikeReply 33 years ago


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