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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.

Share with your folks!


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