Express Sympathy 

One of my students asked a question to me today about what to say if a friend or colleague’s relative has passed away. 

Useful Language

I’d recommend the following in spoken English:

I’m so sorry. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know. 

If you are writing, something like this is appropriate:

My deepest sympathy for your loss. If there is anything I can do to help please do not hesitate to ask. 

Other tips

  • Don’t mention death. 
  • It isn’t common to ask the cause of death; if someone wants to tell you,  they will.
  • Don’t talk about your experience; listen to your bereaved friend. 

I hope this helps anybody who needs it. 

Go to a Place But Don’t Go to an Action

I went to the classroom. You went to the classroom to study.

Hello, it has been a while.

I am just adding this because some of my students have had problems with ‘ing’ actions and ‘go’ verbs.

“He went to shopping.” MISTAKE.
“He went shopping.” CORRECT.

Go to a place but don’t go to an action.

Use ‘go to’, ‘went to’ or ‘gone to’ with places.

“I went to Paris.”

“She went to work.” (‘Work’ here is a place, where she does her job.)

Use ‘go to’, ‘went to’ or ‘gone to’ with a plain verb if someone goes somewhere to do something.

“I go out to the club on Thursday night. I go to dance.”

“I go to fish for dinner at the beach.”

Use ‘go’, ‘went’ or ‘gone’ without ‘to’ for activities in special places.

“They have gone swimming.” (Most people don’t have swimming pools at home.)

“My dad went bowling.” (I don’t know anyone with a bowling alley at home).

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, leave a comment.

Who Are You Talking To?


When you speak English, one of the things you must think about is relationships. Who are you talking to? How well do you know them? What is the situation?

It is useful, especially in business situations, to be formal. In most native-English speaking cultures, business relationships start formal then become more informal as the relationship develops.

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