I was wondering what Chinese people would write when they write a condolence card. Is it just a translation from the English or are there specific sentences?


3 Answers 3


The link user6065 gave is somewhat misleading. Chinese do not have the tradition of writing a condolence CARD. The wiki how page provided seems to be a machine translation of the English wiki how. So it doesn't mean anything if you want to write its counterpart in Chinese. The second link is about 唁电/唁函, which is a very formal letter or message you write personally after someone's death, to express condolence to the family and friends of the dead. It's not very similar to a condolence card in English context. Only if having very important relationship with the dead, and not able to mourn for the dead in person, can you write a 唁电/唁函. It's weird to write one for the death of a pet, or your neighbor you don't know much about.

To write a well-composed 唁电/唁函, one needs to 遣詞雅正 用語沉肅 不枝詞蔓語 賣弄文采 亦不因陋就簡 有失鄭重.

Knowing all these above, let's talk about how to write a 唁电/唁函.

Start with addressing the person or collective you write to:

-No other words needed.



Main body

-Main body comprises 4 parts:

-Express your deep sorrow at the news

-Exalt the dead for his good qualities and good deeds, from your memories.

-Express gratitude, for how the dead helped you during lifetime. And you will always remember the dead and his spirit.

-Comfort the family/friends, encourage them.

Appropriate closing

-There are many standard opts for this part.

Your signature, time and date


Toosky Hierot wrote:

Chinese do not have the tradition of writing a condolence CARD

Yes, I agree, we do condolence mostly orally.

'condolence card'(慰問卡) is mostly accompany with delivered well-wishing gift like flower or fruit basket to family member of a deceased, or to sick or injured person. We do not need to send condolence card to someone who was dumped by his girlfriend or someone just failed a midterm exam

Here is what I would write in a condolence card:

A friend's mother whom I had never seen died:

致 (your friend's name):

請節哀 (please not to wallowing in sadness too much)

~ (your name) 啓

A friend just broken his leg in a car accident:

致 (your friend's name):

願你早日康復 (wish you recover soon)

~ (your name) 啓

As for the formal newspaper post/ letter of condolence (唁电/唁函) to the family members of a deceased, who had an important relationship with you, it is another matter. You should write a personal letter like you would to a dear friend


Actually Chinese people don't use condolence card, we use 挽联

驾鹤西游 a euphemistic way to say someone passes by.

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