Steve Ballmer writes:

“I want to express my deepest condolences at the passing of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of our industry and a true visionary. My heart goes out to his family, everyone at Apple and everyone who has been touched by his work.”

I can't say if it's wrong, but what is the difference between "on the passing" and "at the passing"? As most other websites use "on the passing".


1 Answer 1


The preposition on usually goes with condolences.

Other phrases or words referring to death can be inserted here:

I wish to express my condolences on your recent loss | the death of your father | the passing of Steve Jobs.

There is no difference in meaning between at and on in this instance but on is preferred.

  • I dispute that on is preferred. Searching Google Books for "on/at the passing of xxx" with various "disambiguating" values for "xxx" (such as John, Mr, Sir, etc.) shows no such preference - if anything, it seems to me that "at" actually occurs slightly more often. Feb 7, 2012 at 18:09
  • @FumbleFingers: The ngarm inserted at the top by Armen shows "on" slightly more often.
    – user17857
    Feb 7, 2012 at 19:42
  • @Mohammad: There are many different constructions where Armen's shorter search term condolences on/at will favour on, when it's not actually the context we're looking at here. That's why I specifically searched for both versions followed by "the passing of xxx", for several different values of xxx that could only indicate the actual name of an individual who had died. Feb 7, 2012 at 20:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.