How to Express Condolences in English?

What is condolence -acknowledging a loss, showing sympathy, and empathizing with someone?

When a person dies it is difficult to know what to say to the bereaved. If English is your second language, it is even harder to comfort a grieving person. We sometimes use a present tense verb when we should use the past.

It is important to acknowledge the loss in one form or another. Here are a few expressions you can use to express your care and concern in English when someone passes away.

Expressing Condolences in English

  • I am so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s short, sweet, heartfelt, and always welcomed
  • Words can’t express how saddened we are to hear of your loss.
  • I was heartbroken by this sad news.
  • I will never forget when he/she… (share a memory using the past tense verb
  • He/She will be sadly missed. (Add a detail that describes this person’s best quality. For example: He was the best listener. OR He was always there when I needed help with the kids.)
  • If you need anything, please ask. (Then offer something specific, such as help with the kids or a home cooked meal or a coffee date.)

Expressing Condolences in Writing

You can use many of the same expressions in a sympathy note or card.

  • Please accept my/our sincere condolences.
  • I would like to express my sincere condolences on the death of…

Closing your Condolence note or card

  • Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
  • Wishing you peace as you grieve this loss.

Expressing Condolences via Social Media Networks
It is okay to express your condolences in a comment if the announcement has been made in a status update or blog. Take a moment to send a private note as well.

1 comment

  • Condolences are things that we don’t want to think, right? However, so as the birth, a marvelous day for all the families in the world, the death must be expressed by us in the best way, in order to minimize the pain of the loss and to approximating us with our comfort for all at that home.
    thank you for teaching me.

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