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an example of parallel structure

Common Writing Challenges

Sympathy, Condolences

A sympathy note or letter should be handwritten. Typed or e-mailed formal expressions of sympathy lack sincerity.


• My wife and I extend our sincerest condolences.

• We have loving memories of your father and a lot of photographs of him that we are happy to share with you.

• I am so sorry about your loss.

• This has been a stressful time for you with the responsibilities you have had with both your mother and your father.

• I hope that soon you will be able to make time for yourself. When you feel that it is appropriate, I hope we can get together.

• Letter closing: With most sincere sympathy.

Notes and Letters


Dear ———,

I have just received an e-mail note from Darryl, who sent your mother's obituary to us. Jennie and I are currently in Tokyo where Jennie is giving guest lectures at Keio University. We are very sorry that we will miss Margaret's funeral.

Rosa and I have very fond memories of great times with you and your mother. I know you are proud of your mother and we will always have loving thoughts of her. Please know that she and you are on our minds.

With sympathy,



Dear ———,

My family and I extend our sympathy to you on the death of your mother. Please also extend our condolences to the rest of your family.

We received the sad news after returning from our trip yesterday, and we apologize that we were not here to attend the funeral.

Some time when you are free, we would like to stop by and visit. I will be in touch at the beginning of next month.




Dear ———,

I am very sad to hear of Lynette's double misfortune with her job and personal life. I sincerely hope that things change for the better for her very soon. If anyone deserves a fair shake in this life, it is your daughter, who is such a generous, selfless person.

With warm regards,



Dear ———,

When I heard the news of your father's death yesterday, what came to my mind were images of Jake telling stories at Thanksgiving dinner and taking us sledding on steep slopes near the farm at New Year's.

Because of his lengthy illness and his age, his death did not come as a shock; nevertheless, I really do not want to get use to the notion that he will not be around anymore. We will miss him so much.

Edith and I extend our most sincere sympathy.




Dear ———,

I am so sorry to learn of the sudden loss of your Tommy. It just breaks my heart when I think of your son and how he enjoyed being with everyone and the bright future he had.

The great loss is what we focus on, but there is also the great pleasure that he brought to us all, at home and at school and to friends and relatives.

We were so lucky to have been a part of Tommy's life, and we are so grateful for that.

Love and condolences,