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