What is the proper way to say that someone received a prize / achieved a certain rank as a result of his participation in a contest or competition? I would also like a brief explanation, if it's more about it than being a mere collocation.

  • 1
    Does the word won suffice?
    – Minnow
    Mar 25, 2015 at 18:25
  • Not really. What if someone took the second, the third prize, or even a lousy but somehow notable honorary mention? Won seems not that proper to me... Mar 25, 2015 at 19:36
  • Besides gold, Olympians can win silver or bronze. This usage seems a bit contradictory, since unadorned win means take the single highest honor, but it’s perfectly idiomatic, at least in American English. Aug 17, 2023 at 14:46

3 Answers 3


Well, you enter into a contest, and you receive a prize in a contest. So, I'd guess it's just a combination of those two collocations.

But, on second thought... You received the prize because you were in the contest; or, in other words, you received the prize because you were part of the contest.

So, "for" doesn't work because that would imply you received a prize because you created / held a contest, and "on" wouldn't work because it doesn't establish the important fact that you were actually a participant in the contest (also, partly because both of those other prepositions would be jarring. I've never heard anyone use anything other than "in" in this context).


One wins a prize for an achievement. Example: "Joey won first prize for his poem "Rat Fink" in the school literary competition."

  • 1
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    – Community Bot
    Aug 17, 2023 at 14:32

Joey was awarded first prize for his poem "Rat Fink" in the school literary competition.

Award (v.)

To give money or a prize following an official decision

Carlos was awarded first prize in the essay competition. Cambridge

To grant as merited or due:

Awarded prizes to the winners. AHD

Because of the large number of class B riders entered, the promoting Meteor club decided to award trophies to fourth and fifth place finishers. American Motorcyclist, Dec. 1962

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