Biography vs. Obituary

What's the Difference?

Biography and obituary are both forms of written accounts that provide information about a person's life, but they serve different purposes. A biography is a detailed account of a person's life, highlighting their achievements, experiences, and significant events. It is typically written while the person is still alive and aims to provide a comprehensive overview of their life story. On the other hand, an obituary is a brief notice of a person's death, often published in a newspaper or online. It typically includes information about the person's life, family, and accomplishments, but focuses more on their death and funeral arrangements. While a biography celebrates a person's life and accomplishments, an obituary serves as a tribute and announcement of their passing.


FocusLife story of a personSummary of a person's life after death
LengthCan be long and detailedUsually shorter and more concise
ToneObjective and informativeCan be more emotional and reflective
AuthorCan be written by the subject or another personUsually written by a journalist or family member
PurposeTo provide a comprehensive account of a person's lifeTo announce and commemorate a person's death

Further Detail


Biographies and obituaries are two types of written pieces that focus on the life of an individual. While both share similarities in terms of content, they serve different purposes and are structured differently. In this article, we will explore the attributes of biography and obituary, highlighting their unique characteristics and differences.


A biography is a detailed account of a person's life, covering various aspects such as their background, achievements, and significant events. It provides a comprehensive overview of the individual's life story, from birth to present day. Biographies are often written by authors or historians who conduct research and interviews to gather information about the subject.

Biographies are typically structured chronologically, starting with the person's early life and progressing through their major life events. They aim to provide a well-rounded portrait of the individual, highlighting their accomplishments, struggles, and impact on society. Biographies can be written in various formats, including books, articles, and online profiles.

One key feature of biographies is their focus on presenting a balanced and objective view of the subject. Authors strive to provide an accurate portrayal of the person's life, drawing on multiple sources to ensure credibility. Biographies often include insights into the individual's personality, motivations, and relationships, offering readers a deeper understanding of the person behind the public persona.

Biographies are valuable for preserving the legacy of notable figures and documenting their contributions to society. They serve as a historical record of important individuals, allowing future generations to learn about their lives and achievements. Biographies can inspire readers by showcasing the challenges and triumphs of remarkable individuals, encouraging them to pursue their own goals and aspirations.

In summary, biographies are detailed accounts of a person's life, providing a comprehensive overview of their background, accomplishments, and impact on society. They are structured chronologically and aim to present a balanced and objective view of the subject, offering readers insights into their personality and motivations.


An obituary is a written notice announcing the death of an individual and providing a brief summary of their life. Obituaries are typically published in newspapers, online platforms, or funeral programs to inform the public about the person's passing. Unlike biographies, which focus on the entirety of a person's life, obituaries are concise and highlight key details about the deceased.

Obituaries often include basic information such as the person's name, age, date of birth, date of death, and surviving family members. They may also mention the person's occupation, hobbies, and notable achievements. Obituaries are usually written by family members, friends, or funeral home staff who have knowledge of the deceased's life and can provide relevant details.

One of the main purposes of an obituary is to announce the death of an individual and provide information about their funeral arrangements. Obituaries serve as a public notice of the person's passing, allowing friends, acquaintances, and community members to pay their respects and offer condolences to the family. They also serve as a way to honor the deceased and celebrate their life and accomplishments.

Obituaries are typically structured in a straightforward manner, with a brief introduction announcing the death, followed by a summary of the person's life and details about the funeral service. They are written in a respectful and dignified tone, acknowledging the loss while highlighting the positive aspects of the person's life. Obituaries may also include information about memorial donations or charitable contributions in the deceased's honor.

In conclusion, obituaries are brief notices announcing the death of an individual and providing a summary of their life. They serve as a public announcement of the person's passing, allowing friends and community members to pay their respects and offer condolences. Obituaries are written in a respectful tone and highlight the positive aspects of the deceased's life, serving as a way to honor and celebrate their memory.

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