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Autobiography vs Biography: Key Difference & Similarities

Autobiography vs Biography: Key Difference & Similarities

Autobiography and biography are the common formats to tell a story. Writing an autobiography is different from a biography, although both describe the character of the story of one's life.

Both autobiography and biography have different characteristics. So it is important to understand the difference between them to ensure you are writing within the correct scope.

This blog will discuss autobiography vs. biography to help you understand the key differences and similarities between them.

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is a description of a person’s life written by that person. As the writer is the main character, autobiographies use the first person narrative throughout.

The aim of writing an autobiography is to describe the achievements and life experiences of the narrator.

The autobiography format typically starts with early childhood and chronologically lists down the life experiences. These include information about a person’s childhood, career, life choices, achievements, and the difficulties they faced.

Key Traits of an Autobiography

  • Written in the first person
  • More subjective than biographies
  • Broad in scope often cover the writer’s entire life up to the present
  • Inform and explains the motive behind the subject’s actions

Examples of Popular Autobiographies Include

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

You can also refer to some more autobiography examples online if you want to get inspiration and write about your life.

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What is a Biography?

A biography is the story of a person’s life written by someone else. Usually, people write biographies about a famous personalities.

Since the writer is telling the story of someone, that’s why biographies are written in a third-person perspective.

Like an autobiography, biographies also cover the entire subject’s life. So, it is important to include details about birthplace, education, childhood, relationships, etc.

Key Traits of a Biography

  • Written in the third person point of view
  • Follows chronological order
  • More formal than autobiographies
  • Cover the subject’s entire life
  • Requires more research and fact-checking to ensure all the details are correct

Examples of Popular Biographies Include

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis and Einstein: The Life and Times by Ronald William Clark

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Key Difference Between Autobiography and Biography

The key differences between autobiography and biography are discussed in more detail in the following points.

  • Biography is a detailed description of the person’s life story by someone else. While autobiographies are written by the subject themselves.
  • Biographies can be written with or without the permission of the subject. Autobiographies are self-written stories. Therefore, they do not require any permission.
  • The biography contains information from different sources, so it projects a different perspective to the readers. In autobiographies, writers present the information in their own way, thus providing a biased and a more narrowed perspective.
  • In an autobiography, the first-person narrative like I, me, etc., is used to make an intimate connection with the readers. On the other hand, a biography is written in the third person, providing a less intimate connection.
  • Biography aims to inform readers, while the purpose of writing an autobiography is to share the life experiences of the author.

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How are they Different from a Memoir?

A memoir is similar to an autobiography. It is also the story of a person’s life written by that person.

The main difference between autobiography vs memoir is that a memoir focuses on reflecting and establishing an emotional connection. It not only presents the facts but also provides a personal and intimate story about the major happenings in their life.

The key difference between memoir and biography is that a memoir gives a complete immersion of the subject’s voice. But a biography provides full contextual information that reads like a novel but is non-fiction in nature

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Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir: Comparison Chart

Want to know more about autobiography vs biography vs memoir meaning and the key difference and similarities? Here is a comparison chart for your help.

Autobiography Biography Memoir
It means an account of the author’s life story It means an account of a person’s life story by someone else It means an account of personal experience or event
As it is a self-written story thus authorization is not required Authorization is not mandatory Authorization is not mandatory
Express or Inform Inform Express
First-person Third-person First-person
It is based on emotions and thoughts It is based on facts from different sources It is based on personal thoughts, feelings, and reactions

Hopefully, the above guide helps you understand the difference between an autobiography and a biography.

For a successful autobiography, you need to tell your story in a way to make your readers feel in your place.

Writing a captivating autobiography is not an easy task. You need to plan your time, read books for inspiration, and search for information about various writing styles and formats.

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Frequently Asked Question

Why is autobiography more authentic?

An autobiography is authentic because it is written by someone who lived the life. They tell how the person felt. Autobiographies are good because they make you feel like you are there, living your life with them.

What is a self biography called?

Self biography is called an autobiography. It is a written account of your life. It can be an account you write while alive or after death. You can also use autobiographical work to talk about other people's lives, like in a biography.

How to identify an autobiography?

Memoirs are about a specific time in your life. Autobiographies tell us about the whole life of an author. They start when the author was young, and then they cover their entire life. They include events, places, reactions, movements, and other things which happened to them.

How long is an autobiography?

There are no rules for how long an autobiography should be, but it is usually between 200 and 400 pages. This will keep your book in line with what most readers want books to be. And it can help you get traditionally published or help with marketing for your self-published book.

How many paragraphs should be there in the biography?

The biography follows a five-paragraph structure. You are supposed to have an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

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