How to Write a Condolence Letter or Sympathy Note

Life is not entirely smooth. Indeed, from time to time, people do sustain injuries, deaths of loved ones, and other forms of irreparable losses. A letter of condolence may have to be drafted at such a time. As you may have guessed, this is a letter that expresses sympathy and provides great comfort to the bereaved.

Disasters come in varied shades and forms. It may not always be hence that you are in the position to draft a suitable condolence letter. That is where the sample condolence letter comes in handy. It plays the role of guiding you through all the steps involved from start to finish.

As with any other piece of undertaking, you have to adhere to some stringent rules of engagement. Below are some of the steps you might have to follow to be able to draft a condolence letter that shall serve the purpose intended, precisely.

Adopt some punctuality in your drafting of this letter.

Take the least amount of delay in drafting the letter. For a large part, this letter ‘serves its purpose’ only when the incident at hand is still fresh.

Set a personal tone to the letter.

This is neither formal nor official letter. Instead, it is a personal one that requires a similarly personal touch.

Acknowledge some sensitivity to the issue at hand.

Do not treat the entire thing too lightly. Be careful with the kinds of words and statements you choose to convey your point. The least you want to do is add fuel to the fire.

Express how exactly you feel about the loss.

Try as much as possible to draw a correlation between the present loss and your own life. Tell the person how the loss has or is going to affect you going forward.

Include some fond emories of the good old days.

Try and include some fond memories of the good old days you spent with the person at hand. That will attempt to make your letter all the more positive as it conveys condolence.

Wrap up the letter appropriately.

This entails offering a helping hand to the affected person in whichever shape or form that may have to take.

Keep the letter to the point.

Do not bore the reader with excessively long details which may not be relevant to the subject at hand.

What to Include in a Condolence Letter

A typical condolence letter contains many relevant pieces of information. Below are some of the things you will no doubt have to incorporate in your typical condolence letter:
  • Acknowledge the loss. Do this by stating exactly how you feel about the problem that the reader is currently experiencing. Then, draw a correlation between this loss and how your life is going to be thereafter.
  • Offer some help to the bereaved. Be sincere in this as flattery may not always be treated kindly by the affected person. Match your words with your actions to vouch for your own seriousness.
  • Round it up by expressing hope and enthusiasm to the reader. Use phrases or single words that end to convey some grief or sympathy to your readers.

Condolence letter format

The right format is also a must for the letter to be drafted appropriately. Given its informal nature and tone, the letter itself assumes a similarly informal tone and structure. Below are some of the steps you might have to go through to actualize it.

Your Name

Your Address

Your City, State Zip Code

Your Phone Number

Your Email

Wednesday, February 19, 2022

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am deeply saddened by _______ (state the nature of the loss or hardship). I first got to know about the issue on ____ (mm/dd/yyyy).

The loss you have gone through will likely slow down my own progress and make it difficult for me to soldier on with absolute confidence.

Kindly accept my deepest and most sincere condolences for your own loss. If you need my help in whichever shape or form at this trying moment, kindly give me a call.

Sincerely Yours,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Full Name

Sample Condolence letter

We now leave you with a sample condolence letter to give you the inspiration you desperately need to be able to draft yours with the utmost confidence:

Denilson O’bright,

15208 West 119th Street,

Olathe, KS 66062

Dear Prince,

I learned of the loss of your mother via a text message from your cousin. I am deeply apologetic over what you are presently going through.

Indeed, I reminisce about the good old days when your mother used to treat us as her own children. I feel like a part of me has gone, with this loss.

From my personal experience, such times are often tempting and tiring in equal measure. I am subsequently ready and willing to offer a helping hand if and when the need to do so arises. Feel free to knock on me for any further assistance.

Sorry yet again for the loss of your mother. May the strong arm of the Almighty God take you through the entire process.

Sincerely Yours,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Denilson O’bright

Types of Condolence letter

There are two main kinds of condolence letters. These are the formal and the informal condolence letters respectively:

a.) Formal Condolence Letter

This is a condolence letter that you send out to a person whom you do not know. As its designation implies, it bears a more formal tone and structure. The following are some of the pieces of information it conveys:

  • Acknowledgment of the loss
  • References to the deceased by name
  • Expression of sympathy
  • Highlighting the special qualities of the deceased
  • Inclusion of memory of the special attributes of the aggrieved party
  • An offer for help

b.) Informal Condolence Letter

This stands in sharp contrast with the formal letter. It is addressed to a person whom you already know. As such, it conveys a more personal tone and message. Specifically, the letter identifies the bereaved by name and association. It contains words like:

  • “I am sorry for the loss”
  • “I am going to miss you or him or her”
  • “Quick recovery from the loss”
  • “God be with you”
  • “I miss you big”


Alright! We now trust that you are aptly equipped for your next condolence message writing. The insight we have provided is truly great and awesome for the job. All you have to do is adhere to the instructions we have delineated carefully to do the right job. Best of luck in your subsequent endeavors!