Recently, my good friend from Argentina experienced a death in the family and I wanted to send him a message of condolences via email. He reminded me of the importance of learning appropriate Spanish for these types of events. If you are just starting to learn Spanish, you should prepare now, because there will probably come a time when he will need to send his condolences in Spanish. His Spanish-speaking friend will appreciate his efforts to communicate in Spanish at such a difficult time. Here are some ways to send personal expressions of condolences in Spanish.
While native Spanish speakers will say that it always depends on the particular situation, these phrases are nonetheless used frequently. If you are speaking, your tone of voice and facial expression will go a long way in indicating the sincerity of your feelings. If you are writing, these phrases are common enough that everyone will understand what you mean and appreciate your expression of sympathy.
To begin with, the basic idea of offering sympathy, or more specifically “giving condolences,” is expressed in the word “condolences.”
The idea of sympathy can be expressed with words such as “compassion”, “sympathy” or “pity”, although sometimes pity is also used for situations less serious than the death of a loved one.
If you need help sending a card or letter to someone, you can ask for help by referring to a letter of condolence by requesting a “letter of condolence.” This will help you if you are looking for a suitable card or if you need someone to help you write a sympathy message.
When faced with greeting a family member or close friend of the deceased, you can simply say “My condolences.” This translates exactly as “My condolences.” This type of simple greeting is useful, for example, at a funeral, wake, mass, or other type of religious service where you need to say something, but may not know the family well. It is also useful when a large group surrounds family members and there is a need for a brief and momentary greeting so as not to tire the mourners.
If you want to say more, use the oft-spoken “My deepest condolences,” which is very close to “My sincerest condolences.” And an alternative to this phrase would be “I’m very sorry for your loss”, which means “I’m very sorry for your loss”. Either of these phrases is formal enough to be used for any occasion, but conveys a sincere expression of sympathy to the listener.
By learning these basics in Spanish, you’ll be well prepared for the awkward moment when you’ll need to use these specific Spanish phrases.
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