Trips Off the Tongue: Expressing Condolences

Recent events have proven that we sometimes might need to know how to express condolences in Polish. First of all, please note that Polish culture is much more straightforward than, for example, American culture, therefore your attitude must truly match your words, whatever you say. Empty phrases spoken in hard times may be received as offensive. Now, to the point: the standard expression is “Proszę przyjąć kondolencje” (please accept my condolences) or in short, “Moje kondolencje” (my condolences). An alternative, gentler phrase synonymous to kondolencje is “wyrazy współczucia” (words of compassion). If your friend has lost a dear one, you might say “Jestem/jesteśmy z tobą” (I’m/we’re with you) to assure them of your support. Sometimes a handshake or a hug is more appropriate than words and speaks more of your true compassion, which, as said above, is of most importance. I would not advise saying “Przykro mi” (I’m sorry), as this phrase is used when denying or refusing and might in this case be considered too superficial.

2 thoughts on “Trips Off the Tongue: Expressing Condolences

  • May 9, 2018 at 1:45 am

    Well, I am reading these words exactly 8 years after you have written them, but perhaps it’s not too late to say, thank you so much. I learned a lot.
    Mercedes Galin-McVey

    • September 11, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      thank you for this advice.


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