Condolence notes are offered when the sender wants to extend sympathies after the death of a colleague or loved one, while thank you notes are in response to notes already received. The format also varies depending on the circumstances.
When a person dies, a condolence note allows a person to express his condolences to the family of the deceased. Popular phrases found in condolence notes include "Our deepest sympathies," "Sorry for your loss," or "Prayers for you at this difficult time." The note can also include biblical passages or other uplifting statements. The sender can also include a personal note to the recipient.
Thank you notes are sent in response to the receipt of cards or gifts. For example, a newly married couple sends thank you notes to those who sent them wedding gifts. The family of a recently passed person traditionally send thank you cards to those who made donations to charities, or sent cards or flowers. One of the more popular phrases on thank you cards is "Thank you," but other phrases can be found on thank you cards as well.
Both types of cards can be purchased with pre-printed phrases, or blank cards can be used and the sender can craft his own message.