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Thread: condolences

  1. #1
    MarcoVB is offline Newbie
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    Default condolences

    What to say to a friend after he lost his father. "I offer you my condolences" sounds way to formal to me. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    magimagicE is offline Member
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    Default Re: condolences

    A common phrase to use, when nothing else pops into your head, would be:

    My condolences to you and to your family...


    The bereaved party would respond with something like:

    Thank you for your kind sentiments...

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: condolences

    It is formal.

    I'm so sorry for your loss.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: condolences

    Why not start with offering your condolences and then using something like Barb's suggestion as well- move from formality to a more friendly approach. It's a tough topic and there's no ideal way to handle it; just letting them know that you feel and care is what matters and much more than the wording. The formal wording can help sometimes to get things started and broach the subject.

  5. #5
    MarcoVB is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: condolences

    Thanks for your help. I'm pretty sure that on such sad occasions some people use phrases with a word "sympathy" in them but I can't recall any. Are they commonly used? if so, I'd appreciate if you gave me some examples.

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    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: condolences

    From my ESL book:

    - How awful/sad/shocking/terrible.

    - I am/was really sorry to hear about ...

    - I know how you must feel.

    - I understand how sad/angry/hurt/frustrated/ you must feel.

    - I'll be here if you need me.

    - I'm sorry that ...

    - Is there anything I can do for you?

    - Please let me know if there's anything I can do.

    - That's too bad.

    - What a shame.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: condolences

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    - What a shame.
    What a shame he died???

    It should be a shame to say this.

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