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Choosing the Perfect Words of Condolences

Condolence Definition

noun: con·do·lence pronounced [kənˆdou ləns]
plural: con·do·lences pronounced [kənˆdou ləns iz]

1. Something you say or write to express sympathy when someone has died.
2. An expression of sympathy with someone who is grieving.

1. He carefully wrote his words of condolences in a card for his good friend.
2. Please accept my sincere condolences at the loss of your loved one.

Words of condolences are comforting words shared with a person who has suffered the loss of a dear one. Choosing the right words to say at such a time can be quite challenging, but you can do so quickly by selecting from the following phrases. Salutations to Accompany Your Words of Condolences

Other words of condolence resources you might find helpful:

  1. Phrase Examples - What to say to the bereaved in cards and letters
  2. Funeral Planning Guide and Checklist E-Book (Now Free) - Save thousands of dollars while still paying your deepest respects for the deceased
  3. Words of Comfort for Sympathy Examples - Say the right words to comfort people during a difficult time
  4. Eulogy Poem Examples - Write a beautiful eulogy with inspiration from our many examples
  5. Sympathy Words and Sayings Examples - Say the right thing to express your sympathies correctly
  6. Letter Examples - Examples of what to write to someone that has recently lost someone
  7. Messages Examples - The etiquette of writing and saying sympathy messages to the bereaved

The examples below demonstrate how to begin a condolence letter with an appropriate salutation or greeting.

  • Dearest _______,
  • My Dear Friend _______,
  • Dear _______,
  • Dear Mrs. _______,
  • Dear Mr. _______,
  • Dear Dr. and Mrs. _______,
  • Dear Rev. _______,
  • Dear Pastor _______,
  • Dear _______ and Family,
  • Dear Family _______,

First Words to Express Your Sympathies

Some words of comfort you can use to open your letter and express your sorrow are:

  • Our deepest condolences to you upon the passing of _______.
  • So sorry to hear of _______'s passing.
  • Please accept our heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your loved one.
  • Words can't express how saddened we are to hear of your loss.
  • Our sincere sympathies to you and your family.
  • We pray the love of God enfolds you during this difficult time
  • May your many memories of _______ help to sustain you at this most difficult time.
  • You are in our prayers during this difficult time in the loss of your dear _______
  • It was with great sadness that we learned of _______'s passing; please accept our heartfelt condolences.

Words of Condolences to Use in the Body of Your Letter

At this point in your letter you can also say some kind words about the deceased. The following sympathy phrases are popular and appropriate:

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this sad time. I will always remember _____ fondly and have wonderful memories of many times spent with you all during the younger years! He leaves behind a wonderful family and I know you will all be a great source of comfort and support to one another.
  • We were so sorry to hear about _____'s passing. We hope that the love of family and friends will comfort and strengthen you in the days ahead.
  • So sorry to hear this sad news. We will miss _____ at the lake this summer. Thinking of you and your family at this time.
  • My condolences to you and your family on the passing of your _____. It is never easy to lose a parent, no matter your age. I pray for your peace and comfort as you continue your life journey without your _____'s earthly presence.
  • Sympathies to your family on the passing of your brother/sister. He/she will always be in our hearts.
  • Words are never adequate in moments like these. We will say though, that our hearts go out to you, and we will always remember the joyous memories that we are privileged to have in knowing your _____.
  • May God's peace be with you. Cherish the memories you created with _____. I will always remember him/her for her caring and loving nature.
  • Our condolences to you at this sad time. Your _____ was a wonderful man/woman. He/She always had a beautiful smile. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Famous Condolence Quotes You Can Use as Words of Condolences

  • “Tearless grief bleeds inwardly.” Christian Bovee.
  • “Grief and sadness knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can and common sufferings are far stronger than common joys.” Alphonse de Lamartine
  • “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.” Charles Dickens
  • “Time heals grief and quarrels, for we change and are no longer the same person.” Blaise Pascal
  • “Those who learned to know death, rather than to fear and fight it, become our teachers about life” Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Kahlil Gibran
  • “When you speak of him/her speak not with tears for thoughts of him/her should not be sad. Let memories of the times you shared give you comfort for his/her life was rich because of you.” Author Unknown
  • “Your dexterous wit will haunt us long, wounding our grief with yesterday, your laughter is a broken song; and death has found you, kind and gay. We may forget those transient things, that made your charm and our delight, but loyal love has deathless wings, that rise and triumph out of the night. So, in the days to come, your name shall be as music that ascends, when honor turns a heart from shame…O heart of hearts! O friends of friends!” Siegfried Sassoon
  • “There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.” Author Unknown

The Following Bible Verses Make Excellent Sympathy Sayings for Cards

Bible verses can make excellent words of condolences. Use one of the following:

  • “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:18-31
  • “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
  • “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
  • "For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help." Psalm 22:24
  • "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." 1 Thessalonians 4:13
  • "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Corinthians 1:3,4
  • "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory.” Corinthians 15:52-56
  • "For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men." Lamentations 3:31-33
  • "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave is your destruction?" Hosea 13:14
  • "He will swallow up death forever. The sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken." Isaiah 25:8

Social Media Condolence Messages

Using Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is very acceptable in today’s society. Some short phrases you can use for texts, instant messaging, emails, and tweets, are:

  • There are no words to express my sorrow for your loss.
  • You are in my thoughts and prayers.
  • Don’t forget how much we love and care about you.
  • Please know that I am thinking of you and the rest of your family at this time
  • My heart is heavy as I think of your Mom/Dad and the blessing she/he was to me.
  • May the love of your family comfort you in the days ahead.
  • Praying that the Lord will give you strength during this difficult time.
  • Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss; my prayers are with you and your children during this difficult time.
  • My sincere condolences. May you find comfort and the strength to cope
  • Our condolences to you at this sad time.

Use the KISS principle

Keep It Sensitive and Simple- when writing words of condolences, and do say the following:

  • Say that you're sorry for their loss
  • Share a funny memory of the deceased
  • Mention their unique qualities
  • Say that you'll miss them also

Common Misspellings of Words of Condolences

Makes sure you avoid these common spelling mistakes if substituting your own words for any in our samples.

  • Condolense
  • Condolesense
  • Bereeved
  • Berieved
  • Greeving
  • Greiving
  • Deceesd
  • Deceesed
  • Simpothie