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Biography vs Autobiography

The customarily written formats that reveal the story of somebody's life are known as biographies and autobiographies. Both describe the events of a person's life, but they are different from each other. When a person writes his or her own life's story, it is called autobiography; on the other hand, the story of a person's life written by someone else (author) is termed as biography. Both biography & autobiography are very helpful to learn about the life, ups & downs, experiences, struggles, and many other things of famous personalities.

There are many instances when these terms are used interchangeably, and it seems confusing as both forms are the life story of famous personalities, but there are some major and minute differences in the two forms, which make them completely different from each other. This article depicts all these differences between biography and autobiography and provides detailed information on how these two forms are different.

Biography vs Autobiography


The form of writing that discloses the events of an individual's life is known as biography. It is most often penned by someone as a nonfiction narration of a famed personality's life. It covers the fact-based details and the personal story of the person, and biographies also emphasize historical events.

There are many examples of some renowned biographies, some of them are given below:

  1. Princess Diana- A Biography of The Princess of Wales written by Drew L Crichton
  2. His Excellency - George Washington written by Joseph J Ellis
  3. Einstein- The Life and Times by Ronald William Clark


The nonfictional literary pattern, penned by a person about his or her own life's story, is known as autobiography. The term "autobiography " means self (auto), life (bio), writing (graph). There are many autobiographies that are written by famous figures on the shelves of bookstores and libraries. Anybody can write the story of their life, and it will be known as an autobiography.

This writing style used in autobiographies is basically authored by well-known personalities. It is the best way for an individual to share his thoughts, beliefs, and experiences.

There are many examples of some renowned autobiographies, some of them are given below:

  1. The Story of My Life written by Hellen Keller
  2. Losing my Virginity written by Richard Branson
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

How do Biography and Autobiography differ from each other?

Although both writing patterns are the truthful narration of a person's life, there are many differences among these two writing formats, which makes these two writing formats different from each other. It is very useful that one knows the differences between an autobiography and a biography. This, in turn, will help them to pick the best writing style according to their choices and make them more interested in learning about more famous personalities. Following are some common differences between an autobiography & a biography which makes these two writing formats different from each other:

  • Authors: This is the most crucial difference between autobiography and biography. Autobiography is written by a person who is being featured in the content. On the contrary, a biography can be written about any individual and by any other person. This implies that the biographies include less accurate depictions of an individual's life experiences.
  • Narrative Voice: This is one more difference between the two writing formats. First-person narratives (I and me) are used in autobiographies, whereas third-person narratives (like he, she, and they) are used in biographies.
  • Permissions: Autobiography can be written by anyone as it does not require any permission to write about own life's story. This becomes complicated when an author decides to write about any other individual because they need to take permission to write about their personal experiences. A biography needs consent, and an autobiography doesn't require approvals at all.

Similarities between Biography and Autobiography

Biographies and autobiographies also have some commonalities between them that are described below:

  • Focus/subject: Both the written formats are basically about a well-renowned and famed person such as actors, scientists, politicians, and historical figures.
  • Nonfiction: Nonfiction is writing that is prepared to disseminate genuine facts of real incidents to the audience. Both the autobiographies and biographies are nonfictional as it includes real stories.
  • Timeline: The two writing formats are basically written in the order of time. The author writes the events from birth to the current day or demise.
  • Purpose: Biography and autobiography are authored by different individuals but are put down for a similar purpose. Both aim to let the reader know about the facts and happenings from someone's life and are meant to provide us with knowledge and inspiration.

Features of Biographical and Autobiographical texts

  • The texts are written in formal language
  • Compound and complex sentences are used, consisting of connectives
  • The text is written in the past tense
  • The text should always be in chronological order
  • Division of matter into paragraphs generally, each paragraph will contain the description of the incidents of each part of an individual's life. For instance, the first paragraph will talk about childhood, and early adulthood will be mentioned in the next paragraph
  • Phrases like 'it were thought' and 'Many people claimed' etc., are used in the texts. This is used to show that history mentioned in the content can't be declared as facts as they are derived from the story that was passed down years ago
  • Pictures and captions that add value to the text

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