I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

What are some common expressions you say to people who have lost a loved one due to illness, accident, or other circumstances?

HELPFUL TIP: The loss of a close friend or family member can be a traumatic experience, and knowing how to express condolences appropriately can help provide emotional support in such cases.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. What can we assume about the death of Tim’s father?

A. He fell ill and passed away unexpectedly.

B. His father died in a traffic accident.

C. Tim’s dad had a lingering illness.
2. How is his mother taking the passing of her husband?

A. She feels very depressed.

B. She remains optimistic about the future.

C. She senses no purpose to her own life.

3. How is his mother going to support herself now that her husband is gone?

A. She will be able to live off her government pension.

B. She is coming out of retirement to work.

C. Proceeds from life insurance will sustain her.

4. When is the public viewing for Tim’s father?

A. in the morning

B. in the afternoon

C. in the evening

5. What does Tim ask Heather to do at the funeral?

A. offer a prayer

B. sing a song

C. give a speech

Score =
Correct answers:

Heather: Hi, Tim. [Hi] I’m really sorry to hear about your dad. My sincerest condolences go out to you and your family. He was such a great man.

Tim: Thanks. As you know, he had been sick for some time before he passed away, so we were somewhat prepared.

Heather: So, how’s your mom taking it?

Tim: Oh, it’s been really hard on her. I don’t think you get over something like that.

Heather: Yeah, I’m sure. My heart really goes out to her. [Thanks.] Uh, so how’s your mom going to be able to manage things alone?

Tim: Well, financially, mom will be able to live a secure life from now on. I mean, Dad had life insurance and substantial investments in property and stocks, so returns on those should take care of her. [That’s good to hear.] But our main concern at this moment is her emotional state. [Yeah.] She’s really down, so a call now and again should brighten her day.

Heather: So, what are the funeral arrangements? The obituary in the paper didn’t mention much about the funeral.

Tim: Well, some of the family members will get together on Tuesday morning for a private memorial service, but there will be a viewing in the afternoon from 2:00 to 3:00, followed by the funeral service. One of my uncles will be giving the eulogy.

Heather: I wish there was something I could do you. *

Tim: Well, actually, there is. [Oh?]. You know, Dad really admired you a lot, and before he died, he asked if you’d sing a musical number at the funeral.

Heather: Really? I’d be honored.

Tim: It would really mean a lot to the family.

Heather: Sure. Then, see you on Tuesday.

Tim: Okay, see you then.

The form “was” is often used in conversational speech for unreal conditionals. “Were” is the formal form.

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • condolences (noun): expressions of sympathy with another’s sadness
    – We’re sorry to hear about your brother. Please give our condolences to his wife and children.
  • pass away (verb): die
    – My father passed away suddenly three months ago.
  • hard (adjective): difficult
    – Greg went through some very hard times after his wife died in a car accident.
  • get over (verb): recover from
    – It took Sarah over a year to get over the loss of her baby.
  • down (adjective): low in spirits
    – I’m feeling so down now that I can hardly concentrate on my work.
  • funeral (noun): a ceremony where a person is buried or cremated
    – My boss took the day off to attend the funeral of a close friend.
  • viewing (noun): a period before the funeral when family and friends view the dead body and sometimes share memories about the person
    – Only the immediate family is invited to attend the viewing.
  • eulogy (noun): a speech of praise given at a funeral for someone who has recently died
    – The minister offered the eulogy on behalf of the family.