Award vs. Reward

AwardSo I was talking to someone online today and mentioned something about a reward. I hesitated, hit backspace, and typed award. Back and forth it went. I realized we often use these words interchangeably, but they’re not quite interchangeable. So without further ado, here’s award vs. reward!


Award can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it generally means something that recognizes some sort of achievement. For example, being called an MVP (Most Valuable Player) is an award because it recognizes your achievement of being a good player. Other awards are the Oscars, Golden Globes, etc. There is some level of competition involved and the highest achiever gets the award.

Award as a verb is much more generalized. It means to present or give something. It could also mean when something is won. For example, “He was awarded the project.” That would mean not only was he given the project, he earned it over other people.


A reward, on the other hand, is an exchange for something good that someone has done. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen posters for missing pets or people before that come with a monetary reward. If you find the person/pet, a relative/owner will reward you or exchange money for your find. The noun and verb have that same connotation of exchanging.

Final thoughts

Although these words are often used interchangeably, you should  get into the habit of using them correctly. It’ll help bring an A- paper to an A, or bring a good business proposal to a stellar one. Good luck!

Posted in Grammar Quick Fix.

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