Reply to "I'm sorry to hear that" / condolences

Discussion in 'English Only' started by vishalpatel03, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. vishalpatel03 New Member


    How to reply when somebody say sorry?

    for example:

    Sorry for your loss or some people loss.

  2. cutiepie1892

    cutiepie1892 Senior Member

    Northern Ireland English
    If someone says they are sorry for your loss you don't really have to say anything. I've heard people say "thank you" but it's really just whatever seems appropriate in the given situation.

  3. Welcome to the Forums, Vishal!
    And I sincerely hope your question is not brought about by some actual necessity to reply this with regard to the events in your own life.
    If you are talking about losing people, then the best way to reply would be: Thank you for your support or Thank you for your sympathy/kindness.
  4. vishalpatel03 New Member

    Can I Say that's ok ?

  5. HermanaHondureña Senior Member

    USA - English
    Yes, depending on the situation and the culture it is ok to say "That's ok."

    For example, my grandfather was very sick and suffering when he died. When people said they were sorry for my loss, in a conversational way, I replied, "It's ok because..." he is in a better place or he is not suffering anymore or whatever the reason is that you would say that it is ok.

    If I were writing a more formal card or a letter to someone though, I would say "Thank you for your sympathy/kindness/support..."
  6. Lexiphile Senior Member

    England English
    But people say "sorry" to you for all sorts of reasons, not just because a friend or relative has died. And in English there really isn't an appropriately polite, relatively meaningless reply (like "Fine, how'r you," when someone says How are you?").

    A lot of people resort necessrily to some expression in another language: << Non-English removed. >> "Forget it" also has a certain currency, and is even in English.

    The problem is, that when someone says "sorry" to you, he's probably a bit embarrassed. You don't usually want to prolong his embarrassment by getting into a long discussion about how he shouldn' t be sorry, or how much you're going to miss your deceased father. Usually, just a nod and a smile will suffice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2014
  7. HermanaHondureña Senior Member

    USA - English
    If it's just something little that really doesn't matter then you could definitely say "It's ok" and no one would think twice about it.

    You gave the example, "I'm sorry for your loss," which is a phrase used when people die. If someone died then responding by saying "It's ok," all by itself would not be the most common response (some might think that response to be sort of cold).

    If someone says they are sorry for a little thing you could say:

    Forget (about) it.
    No problem.
    Don't worry about it.
    It's ok.
    It's fine.
    It's no big deal.

    Just to give a few examples...
  8. Little_LIS

    Little_LIS Senior Member

    Hello guys,

    I'd like to ask about the proper reply to the following statement said to a person, whose father passed away.

    "I'm sorry to hear that".

    What should this person say in reply to such statement ?

    Thanks in advance :)
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thank you.

    There is no standard response in this situation.
    Anything following the acknowledgement is a matter of individual choice and depends a very great deal on the timing.
  10. Wishfull Senior Member

    Hi. You can use search engines;
    "how to answer condolences".

    I'm non-native English speaker but what I learned from the web is;

    Some native English speakers think "thank you" is not proper, and not say a word and use gestures. But other native English speakers think "thank you" is the golden standard, though it depends on the situation.

    edit; The blue ink sentences is not true. Or might not be true. Sorry for wrong information.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  11. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I'm not sure that I understand this, Wishfull. Could you elaborate on which native English-speakers think that "Thank you" is not proper? I'm rather mystified at your statement. Where does this information come from?
  12. Wishfull Senior Member

    Oh, sorry.:( I must have miss-understood.:(
    My information came from

    And I miss-understood that the original asker is a native-English speaker, which might not be true.
    Or the original asker is the only native-English speaker who think so.

    Anyway, my interpretation was terribly wrong, now I think.
    Or what I summarize might twist things around.
    I'll correct my previous post.

    Thank you for your pointing out.:)
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009

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