Sorry (I am sorry for your loss)

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Senior Member
Standard American English
Help me, guys. A Russian friend's grandmother just died, and I am not 100% sure of how to express my condolences properly. I want to say that I am deeply sorry, but I am very sure that извини or прошу прошение applies to the speaker making a mistake, when in this context I am not asking for forgiveness. I reckon that мне очень жаль would be more correct, but how can I specifically say, "I am deeply sorry for your loss"? First give me a generic expression, then give me others that may more sincere in expressing sorrow for the death of a loved one. Given the sensitive nature of what I am saying, please give specific meaning (connotation, tone, etc.) to what you offer so I will not make a mistake in tone, which must perfectly match what I am trying to convey. Спасибо, ребята!
  • Maroseika

    You are right, извините, прошу прощения have nothing to do with condolences. English "sorry" may refer to two very different Russian groups of notions:

    I'm sorry - простите, извините
    To feel sorry, to be sorry - жалеть кого-либо, сожалеть, сострадать, сочувствовать, соболезновать кому-либо.

    Very formally: Примите мои (искренние) соболезнования в связи с...
    As for less formal phrases, this strongly depends on how close you are with your friend. It is not that easy to choose emotionally correct level.
    In general, you may say: Мне очень жаль, я очень сожалею and similar.



    The most basic one is just 'соболезную'. So you can say 'Соболезную...мне очень жаль'
    other things

    Прими(те) мои самые глубокие (or искренние) соболезнования тебе (Вам) и твоей (Вашей) семье
    Accept my deepest (sincere) condolence to you and your family

    Искренне соболезную вам
    Сочувствую Вашей утрате (I sympathize for your loss)

    Пусть земля будет пухом
    Very Russian expression, lit. let the earth be down. Smacks of religion a bit.
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