Q:

What are examples of appropriate things to say at a funeral?

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Quick Answer

An appropriate remark to the mourners at a funeral consists of an empathetic and thoughtful response, such as “I am very sorry for your loss; please let me know if there is anything I can do” or “I am at a loss for (name)’s passing. You have my deepest condolences.”

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Full Answer

The circumstances of the death directly affect what should, or should not, be stated. Saying the wrong thing can quickly offend other guests at the funeral. In the case of accidental death, more neutral and general statements can be made, such as, “I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers,” or “This is tragic, I was very sorry to hear about his/her passing.”

In the case of a murder or a suicide, a more specific approach is required. When attending the funeral of a victim of a murder, “I cannot express how saddened I am to hear about your loss. It was a senseless tragedy and my heart goes out to you and your family" is an appropriate response. If attending the funeral of someone who committed suicide, say, “I enjoyed the time I spent with (name), and I am incredibly saddened by the loss. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”

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