When it comes to best IELTS Coaching inputs, the destination always ends up at Sahasriya. Thats why Sahasriya provides value to students through its Interesting English series too. Everyday’s note on important aspects of English language is a standing example for the best IELTS Coaching. Today, it is about ‘Empathy’ and ‘Sympathy’.

Writers many a time confuse the two words empathy and sympathy. They are usually used in similar contexts, a death in the family, a job loss, a robbery, etc., but they aren’t the same and have different meanings. So in order to keep our writing precise, we should be careful not to mix either of them up.

When to Use Empathy

Best IELTS Coaching EmpathyEmpathy is a noun and is defined as, “the ability to identify with or understand another’s situation or feelings.” For example,

  • I have empathy for those families who lost their house in the storm. A cyclone once destroyed my house.
  • Having been late to work many times himself, the boss had empathy on the employee who was late.

Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand that person’s situation. In the example above, the boss, having been late to work himself, had empathy for and understood why the employee was late for work.

When to Use Sympathy

IELTS SympathySympathy is a noun and is defined as, “a feeling of pity or sorrow for the distress of another.” For example,

  • I offered my sympathy to the grieving mother.
  • Their sympathy for the victims led them to donate.

So you can clearly see the difference between the two words. Sympathy is a compassion and sorrow one feels for another, but empathy is more focused around personally identifying with or projecting oneself into another’s situation.

You may feel bad for the person who was just laid off from their job, but if you have never been laid off yourself, you cannot have empathy for him or her. You can feel sorry, have compassion, and give them sympathy, but you can’t have empathy for their situation.

Empathise vs. Sympathise

This same thought process underlines the two verb forms of empathy and sympathy, empathise and sympathise. Empathise denotes a stronger, more personal sense of shared feeling than does sympathise.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot use sympathy or sympathise to describe “sharing or understanding the feelings of another.”

Empathy, and by extension empathize, is the power of projecting one’s personality into (and so fully comprehending) the object of contemplation. It is much more personal and specific than sympathy.

To give another example, I may sympathise with the person whose house was just burglarised because I can understand how vulnerable it must make one feel, but I cannot have empathy because my house has never been robbed.

Remember the Difference

Here are two tricks to remember which of these words is which:

You can remember that sympathy deals with sorrows and feeling sorry for someone because it starts with an “S.”

Similarly, you can remember that empathy is more personal and requires you to put yourself in that person’s shoes. Shoes and empathy both have an “E” in them.


The two words sympathy vs. empathy cause a bit of confusion in people’s writing, but they have different meanings.

Empathy is more specific and personal than sympathy. It involves personally putting yourself in that persons shoes and knowing what they are going through.

Sympathy is a more general feeling or sorrow for another person’s situation.

For knowing the difference between ‘sometimes’ and ‘some times’ check here

When it comes to best IELTS Coaching in Bengaluru or Chennai Velachery and Porur or Coimbatore the destination roads leads to Sahasriya. In IELTSPTE and many other exams, English language skills are tested. Sahasriya is the discerning name for best IELTS Coaching.

About Sindhu Sriram

Sindhu SriramAn education enthusiast and a self-made entrepreneur in devising unique and simple ways to educate complex elements. An English language expert and a successful role-model for many aspiring trainers. Not only is she the brainchild to have founded Sahasriya, she is a top-notch and sought after English language professional

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