What Is Another Way to Say “Sorry to Hear That”?

You want to send a kind, sympathetic message to a colleague or employee. However, you’re worried that sorry to hear that is too generic and may come across as sincere.

Fret not! Below, we’ll show you what to say instead of sorry to hear that when you want to send a message of support at work.

10 Alternative Ways to Say “Sorry to Hear That”

To learn how to say sorry to hear that in an email, have a look at the 10 phrases below:

  • I sincerely apologize
  • I was saddened to hear
  • That’s such a pity
  • I’m so sorry
  • My utmost apologies
  • Is there anything I can do?
  • Can I offer any support?
  • It was terrible to hear
  • Are you okay?
  • How are you faring?

1. I Sincerely Apologize

I sincerely apologize is a great formal way to say sorry to hear that when you are speaking to someone that you aren’t particularly close with.

You can use this phrase if the person has expressed some bad news. For example, they may be ill or facing some other hardship that is affecting their work. This is a very earnest phrase, and they will surely appreciate it.

Therefore, let’s see how you can employ this phrase in an email sample:

Dear Ruby,

I sincerely apologize for the unfortunate circumstances you are facing.

Please let me know if there’s any way that I can offer support at this time.

Kind regards,

2. I Was Saddened to Hear

If a colleague is moving on to a new job, you can simply express that you are sad to see them go.

You can use I was saddened to hear to express that you value their presence in your office, as this is always a kind sentiment. However, you can follow this phrase with a message in support of their decision.

Check out this email example to see what we mean:

Dear Simphiwe,

I was saddened to hear that you would no longer be working with us, but I hope you find great joy and success in your next adventure.

All the best,

3. That’s Such a Pity

In a more casual exchange with a colleague, you can say that’s such a pity to express your sympathies instead of sorry to hear that.

This phrase is cordial and somewhat emotive, so it is best suited for when you are speaking to a coworker that you are close with at work.

See the sample email below:

Hi Tom,

That’s such a pity! I hope you feel better soon.

My best,

4. I’m So Sorry

If you have a close relationship with one of your colleagues, you will likely be sincerely saddened by their grief.

Therefore, you can use the more heartfelt phrase, I’m so sorry to show that you feel truly remorseful for the fact that they are facing hardship.

For instance:

Dear Lewis,

I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you must be going through.

Please take all the time you need and let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you.

Kind regards,

5. My Utmost Apologies

My utmost apologies is a more professional way to say sorry to hear that when you’ve heard that someone is facing a difficult situation. It has a rather serious tone, so it is most suited for a serious situation.

This phrase is very formal, so it’s a safe option if you aren’t very close with this colleague but still want to offer your sympathies and support. Although it can come across as stuffy, it is still very sincere.

Have a look at the following email sample:

Dear Byron,

I wanted to express my utmost apologies for your recent loss.

The team and I are here to support you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Yours sincerely,

6. Is There Anything I Can Do?

Sometimes, instead of just expressing sympathies, you might want to be more proactive and offer your colleague support when they’re having a rough time.

Therefore, instead of saying “sorry,” you can ask is there anything I can do? This is a somewhat casual phrase, so you can use it if you and your coworker have a friendly rapport in general.

Moreover, your peer will no doubt appreciate your fervent willingness to help. You’ll come across as a real team player that your fellows can rely on.

Thus, have a look at this phrase in an example email:

Hi Trudy,

I’ve heard you are sick! Is there anything I can do to help with the Brown account while you’re recovering?

Don’t hesitate to let me know.

All the best,

7. Can I Offer Any Support?

Can I offer any support is a more formal variation of the phrase above. Therefore, you can use it when you’re speaking to someone that you don’t know very well yet.

This phrase keeps things professional but still shows that you are a supportive and approachable team member. All great qualities!

Let’s see a sample email that includes this phrase:

Dear Matthew,

I understand you are not feeling well at the moment.

Therefore, can I offer any support on your current projects until you are able to return to the office?

Kind regards,

8. It Was Terrible to Hear

It was terrible to hear is rather emotive, but still comes across as fairly formal. Therefore, this phrase would suit a situation where a coworker is experiencing some very trying times.

You can use it was terrible to hear to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem your colleague is facing. Moreover, you can use it as an opportunity to offer assistance.

For example:

Dear Rodrick,

It was terrible to hear what you’re going through. I hope you know that I am here to support you in any way.

Yours sincerely,

9. Are You Okay?

If you want to check in on a coworker and see how they’re doing, you can simply ask are you okay?

This phrase can precede sorry to hear that, as it invites conversation about your colleague’s situation.

Your colleague will no doubt appreciate your interest in their well-being. However, this phrase comes across as rather informal. Thus, it would be best to keep it in correspondence with a colleague that you are already friends.

Have a look at the email sample below:

Hi Troy,

Are you okay? I heard about the accident.

I hope you’ll reach out if you need anything.


10. How Are You Faring?

How are you faring is just a more formal version of the phrase above. You can use this to check in on a colleague or an unwell employee.

Namely, you can use this phrase if you want to express your interest in the recipient’s well-being while maintaining a professional register.

For instance:

Dear Claire,

How are you faring at present?

Please do not rush to return to work – your wellness is the top priority.

Kind regards,

Can You Say “Sorry to Hear That” in an Email?

You can say sorry to hear that when you are expressing condolences to a colleague or client in an email. This phrase does not come across as rude. In fact, it is rather sympathetic and polite.

Therefore, you can’t go wrong expressing your sympathies this way if you know that the receiver is struggling.

Let’s see this phrase in a couple of example emails.

In our first example, we will look at a more casual exchange with a colleague:

Hello Sophie,

Sorry to hear that. Is there any way I can help?


Next, we’ll see a more formal example:

Dear Tabitha,

I am sorry to hear that you are leaving the company, but I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Warm regards,

Although the phrase sorry to hear that is correct, it is rather standardized and may therefore come across as less sincere than you would prefer.

Therefore, if you want to use a more unique expression that comes from the heart, you can try one of our alternative phrases.

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