It seems that in my native language is used only one word for translating both words "accomplishment" and "achievement". Are they synonyms? Are there some difference in usage of these words?

4 Answers 4


The content of this answer was taken from Translation Directory.

An achievement is a goal that has been reached.

An accomplishment is a job or project that has been completed.


Accomplishment also involve change, but they present the events they refer to as bounded in time. They can be decomposed into two endpoints (the beginning and the culmination of the event) and a process part. Examples of accomplishment are "build a house", "run to the store".

Accomplishments can occur in the progressive. They do not occur with time-span adverbials, but do occur with time-frame adverbials.

  • John is running to the store.

  • John ran to the store in an hour/*for an hour.


Achievement are like accomplishments lacking a process part. They denote punctual change. Examples of achievement predicates are "reach the top", "win the race", "find his glasses".

  • Aren't your quotes for the contrast of "accomplishment predicates" vs. "achievement predicates", but not for the contrast of "accomplishment" vs. "achievement" in general? Dec 6, 2013 at 8:05
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    When I consulted a dictionary, I did not find definitions that concurred with this dividing line. The words seemed much more interchangeable than this answer would indicate. NOAD reads accomplishment (n.) something that has been achieved successfully; achievement (n.) a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill. With those definitions in mind, it seems that, for example, earning a diploma could be considered either an accomplishment or an achievement, even though there is an underlying process that typically last four years.
    – J.R.
    Dec 6, 2013 at 10:21
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    One can be an accomplished public speaker, but not an achieved public speaker. I think this helps distinguish the two nouns. Accomplishment is used more for things that relate to personal qualities; achievements relate to more 'external' things. But there is much overlap and usually it would be hard to argue that one of the words is 'wrong'.
    – toandfro
    Mar 21, 2014 at 1:24
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    This answer is arguably misleading. The original text discusses a specific distinction made in linguistics (about predicates), which does not necessarily match the usual meaning of the words. The answer here is a paraphrase, not an exact quote, and I'm not sure it is applicable generally. Some examples of these verbs' usage would be helpful. Jan 2, 2018 at 3:49

I heard an interesting point of view recently regarding this. An achievement is the actual result usually gained against an external or standardised measurement. It doesn't imply success necessarily. An accomplishment is often the acceptance of a goal as being completed successfully.

As an example a student may have achieved an 'F' for an exam. This is a measurable assessment based on the results of sitting the exam. However if the student was aiming to get an 'A' then she may not have accomplished her actual goal. If she achieved that 'A' grade then both the accomplishment and achievement would be aligned. If her goal was to just achieve an 'F' then that would be her accomplishment.


Let's take the example of athletes. When one completes a race without any cheating, like use of drugs, one has really achieved. When, however, one uses drugs, one has only accomplished the task of completing the race, without achieving anything apart from managing to use drugs in the race.

I learnt this from a debate I followed on BBC Television some two or three years back, about whether drugs should be allowed in sports or not. I can't exactly recall the program, but the above difference was given by one of the discussants against use of drugs in sports.


Well, this are my thoughts about the difference between ACHIEVEMENTS and ACCOMPLISHMENTS. ACCOMPLISHMENTS are any work or effort you have done that has an END. Examples of accomplishments are when you finished high school or college education, or when you finished your masters degree. Another example is when you finished a certain mission, or projects, those are also accomplishments because they have an END. While ACHIEVEMENTS are also any work or effort that shows or exhibits exceptional qualities or excellence, but DO NOT necessarily imply an END. Examples of achievements are being an HONOR STUDENT, or receiving an AWARD for having a complete attendance, or for having exceeded an expectation. When you passed a Board or Bar exam, or any National Competency Exams, are all achievements not accomplishment, since these exams do not imply an end. Finishing an exam is not an accomplishment, but PASSING THE EXAM is an achievement.

EXAMPLE 1. Mr. Reyes is an accomplished teacher, since he finished his Masters and Doctoral degrees. 2. John put in his resume some of his achievements, like President of a Student Body, graduated cum laude in college, and got 4th place in Board Exam.

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    – Aric
    Aug 21, 2018 at 12:29
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    – user230
    Aug 21, 2018 at 13:58

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