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English Expressions of Sympathy Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in English Vocabulary

We’ve all been there. Someone you know is having a tough time. They are sad, or distressed, or even depressed. You want to say something to make them know that you care, but it can be awkward. What are the right words? Here are some expressions of sympathy and empathy for those moments when words just don’t seem right.


If a friend, co-worker, or family member is sick, you want to say something to offer tidings for better health. These sentiments will let them know that you care.

  • Oh, no! I hope that you’re feeling better soon.
  • Take care, and be good to yourself.
  • I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well.
  • If you have your health, you have everything.
  • Don’t worry about anything except getting better.
  • That’s too bad. There’s nothing worse than not feeling well.

Having a Bad Day

Sometimes a co-worker, friend, spouse, or relative just had a bad day and is feeling frustrated and sad. They may act angry or troubled. They could be anxious and/or distracted. You want to let them know that you care, and to give them some encouragement, so one or more of these phrases are appropriate.

  • You know that you can talk to me anytime.
  • I’m here for you, if you want to talk
  • I’ve been there. I understand.
  • Don’t let it get you down.
  • You’re strong, and you’ll get through this.
  • Days like this are the worst, I know.
  • Try to put it behind you.
  • Tomorrow’s another day.
  • What’s done is done. Better days are ahead.
  • You’re going to be okay, you know.
  • You’ve got this.


Sometimes a friend or family member has been let down, or disappointed by something. Maybe they didn’t get a job, or broke up with a loved one. Here are some words and phrases that might be appropriate.

  • I know how you feel.
  • There’s something (or someone) else out there.
  • I’m sorry, too.
  • It just wasn’t meant to be this time.
  • One door closes, another door opens.

Serious Trouble

Maybe you know someone who is in serious trouble, and really needs help. It could be personal, and is often very stressful. It’s important that this person has some support. Give them your attention, and let them know that you won’t abandon them, by saying the right thing at this difficult time. Include yourself, and others who care, in your words.

  • Let’s see if we can work this out together.
  • You’re not alone.
  • I’ve got your back.
  • Let’s take this one step at a time.
  • This is what friends (or family) are for.
  • Let’s roll up our sleeves and fix this.

Expressions of Sympathy

What do you say to someone when their loved one has fallen seriously ill, or even passed away? It happens to all of us, and you want to say the right thing, but words can often fail us. Don’t let them! Show your support, love, and care with these expressions.

  • I’m so sorry to have heard the news.
  • Please accept my sincerest condolences.
  • I want you to know that I’ve been thinking of you.
  • You have my heartfelt sympathies.
  • These are difficult times, and I want you to know how sorry I am for your loss.
  • I’m sure that you have wonderful memories that you will always treasure.
  • I was deeply saddened to learn the news.

Above all else, if you know someone who is experiencing a difficult time, take a moment to say something to them to show that you care. It will make them feel better, and yourself, as well.

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