Unfortunately, bad things happen. When we hear about these events happening to people we care about, expressing our sympathy can go a long way. Doing so is often difficult as we want to communicate our concern but don’t want to be intrusive or offensive. With these tips and your sincere sentiments, your words of comfort are likely to be meaningful to the person in your life who is having a tough time.
Structuring Common Phrases of Sympathy in English
Here are some common phrases to help you express sympathy.
I’m sorry to hear about + Noun/Gerund
I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties with the boss. I know he can be really difficult at times.
Ellen just told me the news. I’m sorry to hear about your not getting into Harvard!
Please accept my condolences.
This phrase is used to express sympathy when someone has died.
Please accept my condolences. Your father was a great man.
I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept my condolences.
That’s so sad.
That’s so sad that you lost your job.
That’s so sad that he doesn’t love you anymore.
I hope things get better soon.
This phrase is used when people have been having difficulty over a long period of time.
I know your life has been difficult lately. I hope things get better soon.
I can’t believe how much bad luck you’ve had. I hope things get better soon.
I hope you feel better soon.
This phrase is used when someone is experiencing health problems.
I’m so sorry you broke your leg. I hope you feel better soon.
Stay home for the week. I hope you feel better soon.
Expressing sympathy is used in a number of situations. For example, you might express sympathy for someone whose family member has passed away. Generally, we express sympathy to someone who has difficulties of some sort. Here are some example dialogues to help you learn when to express sympathy in English.
Person 1: I’ve been rather sick lately.
Person 2: I hope you feel better soon.
Person 1: Tim has been having a lot of troubles lately. I think he might be getting a divorce.
Person 2: I’m sorry to hear about Tim’s problems. I hope things get better for him soon.
Writing Sympathy Notes
It’s also common to express sympathy in writing. Here are some common phrases you can use when writing a sympathy note to someone. Notice that it is common to use the plural ‘we’ and ‘our’ when expressing written sympathy as a way to express that a family. Finally, it’s important to keep a sympathy note short.
My heartfelt condolences on your loss.
Our thoughts are with you.
She/he was a lot of things to many people and will be missed tremendously.
I am thinking of you in your time of loss.
We are very saddened to hear of your loss. With deepest sympathies.
You have my sincere sympathy.
You have our deepest sympathy.
Example Sympathy Note
I heard recently that your mother passed away. She was such a wonderful woman. Please accept my heartfelt condolences on your loss. You have our deepest sympathy.