What to say when someone dies

When someone dies, here are some comforting phrases you can say to express sympathy to their close family and friends:

  • ‘I'm sorry for your loss.’
  • ‘I’m thinking of you at this difficult time.’
  • ‘This is such terrible news. I am so sorry this has happened.’
  • ‘He/she was a wonderful person.’
  • ‘I am shocked to hear this tragic news.’
  • ‘You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.’

Frequently asked questions

Death is a tricky subject to tackle. When someone dies, try to express simple words of sympathy and compassion. Avoid making the following blunders, which may be well intended but can come across as insensitive:

  • ‘How did he/she die?’
  • ‘He/she is in a better place.’
  • ‘I know how you feel.’
  • ‘It will get easier.’
  • ‘At least he/she had a long life.’
  • ‘Everything happens for a reason.'

If you cannot attend a funeral, let the close family of the deceased know as soon as possible. You might also want to consider making the following gestures:

  • Send a sympathy card as soon as possible, to express your emotion and compassion.
  • Send flowers to the funeral home for the funeral service, or send a tasteful bouquet to the grieving family.
  • Bring or send food to the family, who will need extra care while mourning.
  • If the person who passed away supported a particular cause or charity, send a donation in his/her name.
  • Pay a visit to the family after the funeral, and make sure you offer your support long after that.

If you were particularly close to the person who has died and believe your presence will be missed at the funeral, do try to let the grieving family know in advance that you are not able to attend. Ideally, pay them a visit in person, or send a notification offering your apologies. Be sure to sign off with a message of comfort and sympathy.

If you have already missed the funeral, it is never too late to offer your condolences and support.

In the UK, many mourners wear formal clothing in dark, neutral hues of black, navy or grey to funerals to convey respect. Typically, men typically wear a formal suit or jacket with a suit and tie, and women wear a smart dress, or blouse with trousers or average length skirt.

Black clothing is not always compulsory, but it is advised not to wear bright coloured or bold clothing to a funeral unless the family of the deceased has asked otherwise.

If you are due to attend a funeral service, taking the following items can ensure your comfort, and may help you provide comfort to those around you:

  • A packet of tissues
  • Flowers
  • A donation to a cause close to the heart of the deceased
  • An umbrella, as you may spend a bit of time outside before, after or during the service
  • A story or memory about the person who died to share at the funeral reception
  • Sunglasses

Death is a tricky subject to tackle. When someone dies, try to express simple words of sympathy and compassion. Avoid making the following blunders, which may be well intended but can come across as insensitive:

  • ‘How did he/she die?’
  • ‘He/she is in a better place.’
  • ‘I know how you feel.’
  • ‘It will get easier.’
  • ‘At least he/she had a long life.’
  • ‘Everything happens for a reason.'

If you cannot attend a funeral, let the close family of the deceased know as soon as possible. You might also want to consider making the following gestures:

  • Send a sympathy card as soon as possible, to express your emotion and compassion.
  • Send flowers to the funeral home for the funeral service, or send a tasteful bouquet to the grieving family.
  • Bring or send food to the family, who will need extra care while mourning.
  • If the person who passed away supported a particular cause or charity, send a donation in his/her name.
  • Pay a visit to the family after the funeral, and make sure you offer your support long after that.

If you were particularly close to the person who has died and believe your presence will be missed at the funeral, do try to let the grieving family know in advance that you are not able to attend. Ideally, pay them a visit in person, or send a notification offering your apologies. Be sure to sign off with a message of comfort and sympathy.

If you have already missed the funeral, it is never too late to offer your condolences and support.

In the UK, many mourners wear formal clothing in dark, neutral hues of black, navy or grey to funerals to convey respect. Typically, men typically wear a formal suit or jacket with a suit and tie, and women wear a smart dress, or blouse with trousers or average length skirt.

Black clothing is not always compulsory, but it is advised not to wear bright coloured or bold clothing to a funeral unless the family of the deceased has asked otherwise.

If you are due to attend a funeral service, taking the following items can ensure your comfort, and may help you provide comfort to those around you:

  • A packet of tissues
  • Flowers
  • A donation to a cause close to the heart of the deceased
  • An umbrella, as you may spend a bit of time outside before, after or during the service
  • A story or memory about the person who died to share at the funeral reception
  • Sunglasses