To express sympathy, we have three kinds of situations. They are formal, informal and neutral.

  • I’m sorry to hear that.
  • You must be very upset.
  • How terrible/awful.
  • What extremely bad luck.
  • I know how it feels.



  • That’s awful
  • Oh no!
  • Oh dear.
  • Poor you, …
  • What a shame…


  • I’m extremely sorry to hear that.
  • I was deeply sorry to hear.
  • What a terrible situation for you.
  • I do sympathize.
  • You have my deepest sympathy
  • Please accept my condolences. (when someone has died)

The responses are saying thanks: Thank you; / That’s very kind of you.

The example in a short dialogue:

Joe       : Hi, Cathy! Where have you been? I haven’t seen you for a month.

Cathy   : I visited my grandma. I took care of her since she got heart attack.

Joe       : Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. You must be very upset.

Cathy   : I was. But she’s getting better now. Thanks





Choose the correct expression for the following situation.

1)      Dea      : …..

Bella     : I’m sorry to hear that.

(A)   I will celebrate my biggest birthday party

(B)   I win the competition

(C)   I’ve lost my computer

(D)   My mother is traveling to the North Pole.

(E)    I have finished my project.


2)      Lea      : I’ve lost my motorcycle last night.

Chuck  : ……

(A)   That’s great

(B)   How lucky you are

(C)   I am sure you did it.

(D)   I’m sorry to hear that

(E)    I agree with you.


3)      Dyna    : Where have you been? I didn’t see you for a month?

Naomi  : I suffered from diabetes. I’ve to stay for a month.

Dyna    : Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Hope you’ll get better soon.

The underline sentence expresses …

(A)   agreement

(B)   possibility

(C)   certainty

(D)   warning

(E)    sympathy

4)      Lily       : Oh God… I failed to be the winner of American Idol.

Barbie  : ….

(A)   That’s good idea

(B)   What a wonderful.

(C)   I’m sorry to hear that

(D)   I disagree with you

(E)    I can’t help you


5)      Joan     : I have to go to the hospital now. My father is being operated.

Pam     : Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Let me know his condition soon after you see him.

The italic sentence expresses…

(A)  sympathy

(B)   uncertainty

(C)  possibility

(D)  promise

(E)   satisfaction




Complete the dialogue below by giving the correct expression of sympathy.

Ann            : Jude didn’t pass the exam.

Marry         : …………………………..


Harris         : Do you know that Mr. Brown is hospitalized?

Bob            : No, I don’t. What’s wrong with him?

Harris         : He had an accident last night.

Bob            : …………………………………


Liza            : Why do you look so sad?

James         : Didn’t you hear the news this morning? The earthquake has destroyed my grandpa’s village in Indonesia. It has killed many people.

Liza            : ………………………………………….. How about your grandpa?

James         : He’s Ok. I’ll pick him up to stay here.


Shanty        : Have you visited Robin? He got an accident last month.

Dora          :  ……………………………… . I hope he’ll be better soon.



Now, create a short dialogue from the following situations and practice with your partner.

1)      Your friend has just broken heart because his girlfriend left him.

2)      Your mother loses her wallet of five hundred dollars inside.

3)      Your friend failed to apply for a scholarship.

4)      Your brother didn’t win the badminton match.


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