Recently my cat died. He escaped my house and was attacked by a dog. Sadly he didn't survive.

I emailed a male acquaintance ( were not close friends, live long distance, communication is not daily). He's offered a listening ear if I need one. I told him the above ,and that I was feeling sad.

His response by email "My goodness. My heartfelt condolences."

My goodness is expressing surprise?

  • Yes, it's a euphamism of "My God" I think. – d'alar'cop Mar 5 '14 at 4:59
  • When I read the second sentence, I was shocked (I love animals) and my first reaction was, oh, my goodness! It is a euphamism for the much more used Oh my God! or OMG. – anongoodnurse Mar 5 '14 at 5:41
  • @Susan: So if you emailed a colleague at work that your cat had died in such circumstances, how would you feel if the reply email said "OMG. My heartfelt condolences."? Personally, my first thought would probably be "That looks rather odd without an exclamation mark." Then I'd think "How crass!" – FumbleFingers Mar 5 '14 at 5:49
  • @FumbleFingers - people use OMG all the time. I just ended the sentence there. How can you possibly think that's crass given the expletives you use?!? (Do you know how to type an interrobang? Reg D does.) – anongoodnurse Mar 5 '14 at 5:59
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    @Susan: My guess is well over 90% of all instances of OMG are actually expressing little more than "Wow!" or "Golly gosh!" (or perhaps "Corks!" in my admittedly idiosyncratic vernacular). Just so we know, my definition of crass there is Grossly stupid, ‘dense’; grossly insensitive or unrefined. Not "rude, coarse, foul-mouthed", if that's what you were thinking. I get my ‽‽interrobangs‽‽‽‽‽ and such by typing the word into google so I can cut&paste from the first useful result. – FumbleFingers Mar 5 '14 at 6:10

My goodness would express shock or surprise but more accurately it is a small prayer. It is derived from "My God". I think it is an appropriate thing to say in your context.

  • With something as trivial and obvious as this, you might try searching for an existing duplicate. Apart from the one I closevoted against, there's also Where does “goodness me” come from? and probably others. People's standards may differ, but I personally do not think it's an appropriate thing to write in an email, given OP's exact context. – FumbleFingers Mar 5 '14 at 5:43
  • @FumbleFingers - probably duplicate of the one under post. I saw the goodness me and thought this was a little different. – RyeɃreḁd Mar 5 '14 at 5:46

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