Congratulations, you have a new job. And your former employer throws you a going away party to show appreciation for your service to the company. As former employees line up to wish you well, many say, “You will be missed.” What does that phrase mean? Is it different than saying “I will miss you”?
It is correct to say, “You will be missed.” It is a way of saying, “I am sad you are leaving,” but it’s less personal than saying, “I will miss you.” “You will be missed” can also convey that a group of people will miss the departed. So, you might hear this phrase at funerals or when a person leaves.
Read on to discover more about “You will be missed” and learn in what contexts you should use this phrase.
What Does “You Will Be Missed” Mean?
To say to someone, “You will be missed,” means that you will be sad about someone’s absence (whether permanent or short-term). “You will be missed” is more formal than saying, “I will miss you.” You can also use this phrase to convey that many people will feel the absence of this person.
Our first step is understanding how to use “miss” or “missed.” Originally, to miss something was to fail to come in contact with it (source). So, for example, if you were unable to make it to the airport on time, you might say, “I missed my flight.” Or, if you are playing basketball, you could say, “I missed my shot.”
But by the 12th century, it took upon an additional meaning of “loss” or “lack” (source). We use this second meaning in “You will be missed.” It is as if the person is saying, “Your absence will cause me to have a loss.”
There is also a difference between saying, “I will miss you” and “You will be missed.” “You will be missed” is more passive and less personal; it is like saying, “This company will have a lack because of your absence.”
Though not physically present to hear the statement, at funerals, we often direct “You will be missed” toward the deceased individual as a summary statement in a eulogy. In such an instance, you might imagine the speaker turning to the casket or the urn and saying something like, “You will be missed, Uncle Jim.”
How Do You Use “You Will Be Missed”?
We typically use “You will be missed” as a more formal way of expressing to a person that their absence will create a void. However, because it is passive and impersonal, this phrase is not something to say to a spouse or a significant other when you miss them.
There is a difference between the active and the passive voice in English. You use the active voice to communicate that the subject performs the action of the verb in the sentence. n the passive voice, the subject is performed upon (source).
In a passive sentence, the main verb appears as a past participle. For example, in “You will be missed,” the main verb “missed” is a past participle. Passive sentences will also have a conjugated form of “to be.” In this sentence, “will be” is the future conjugation of “to be.”
Also, consider who is doing the “missing” in this sentence. It is not “you.” “You” are the one who is being missed. In this phrase, an implied subject will be missing “you.” The action is being performed upon the subject – you.
- You will be missed.
If you want to change this phrase from a passive to an active voice, you will need to change the subject. Instead of saying, “You will be missed,” it becomes, “I will miss you.” “I” is now the subject that performs the action (miss) upon you (the object).
- I will miss you.
It is essential to understand why it is in the passive voice to know how to use “You will be missed” effectively. When we do not know who is doing an action, we will use the passive voice.
In this phrase, we are hiding the identity of the one doing the missing. You might do this because it would feel too personal to say, “I will miss you.” Or you might do this because you want to convey that many people will miss this person; not wanting to limit the scope of their impact, you say, “You will be missed.”
When Can You Use “You Will Be Missed”?
If you want to convey that a person’s absence will create a void for a group of people, you can say, “You will be missed.” Also, if you desire to create some emotional distance between yourself and the person missed, you might employ “You will be missed” instead of “I will miss you.”
In the movie Red Notice, one of the main characters (Ryan Reynolds) believes that his nemesis (Dwayne Johnson) has potentially met his demise, thus allowing him to gain access to the treasure freely. As he scans the roaring waters looking for any sign of life, Reynolds shrugs his shoulders and comically says, “You will be missed.”
The comedic moment is effective because he sarcastically uses “You will be missed” to pay respects to the deceased. Of course, he won’t actually miss him. The potentially impersonal nature of “You will be missed” opens the door for sarcasm.
More often than not, you use “You will be missed” sincerely, not sarcastically. If you want to let someone know they have made an impact on several people, this is a tender and effective way to do that. “You will be missed” is virtually synonymous with “Everybody in the office will feel loss because you are gone.”
You may also want to use “You will be missed” if a direct “I will miss you” would be inappropriate. A person could take a more direct expression of missing someone romantically. If you do not want to risk that gesture, “You will be missed” is a safer option.
In What Context Can You Use “You Will Be Missed”?
You can use “You will be missed” in a formal or informal context. For example, using this phrase to convey your sense of loss to co-workers, superiors, or even dear friends is acceptable.
Imagine that you have had cordial conversations with a co-worker who could potentially become a romantic partner. In the past, this co-worker has shown signs of interest. But you are not interested. You found out today this fellow employee will be transferred to another city.
In the above scenario, saying “I am going to miss you” feels too personal. Yet, you still want to be kind and convey that you will feel a loss in his or her absence. In this context, it would be good to say kindly, “You will be missed.”
If you are on the receiving end of a “You will be missed,” it is appropriate to respond with “You will be missed too.” If you also pick up on the impersonal nature of this greeting, there is no need to be offended, but it is wise to take the cue and say something like, “I will miss everyone here as well.”
Bob has given 35 years of work to his company. At the age of 65, he decided to retire. His company graciously celebrated his years of service with a going away party. At the party, his boss gave a speech highlighting all Bob had accomplished.
At the end of the speech, Bob’s superior said, “Bob, you will be missed.” This conveys that the company as a whole will miss Bob’s daily contributions.
A similar sentiment is often given at funerals to convey that the world will miss the presence of the deceased. Whenever you want to say that an entire group of people or an organization will miss a person, “You will be missed” is appropriate.
Using “You Will Be Missed” in a Full Sentence
“You will be missed” typically stands alone as a summary statement. But if you want to be more specific, you can add those words to the sentence, often at the end.
You would not say, “You will be missed by me.” In this instance, the only reason to use the passive voice is to obscure or widen the identity of the one doing the missing. If you want to make that explicit, use the active voice: “I will miss you.”
If you are expressing this sentiment to a specific person, you can put their name on either side of the statement. “You will be missed, Eric” is a proper sentence, and so is “Eric, you will be missed.”
- You will be missed when you leave.
- When you are not in the office on Monday, you will be missed.
- You will be missed by all.
- I am sad you guys are leaving; you will be missed.
When Not to Use “You Will Be Missed”
There are a few situations where “You will be missed” is not the appropriate expression to use. While it is possible to use it at a funeral, some may perceive the term as callous toward someone on a deathbed. Moreover, it is potentially inappropriate to convey loss in an intimate relationship.
While it is entirely acceptable to say, “You will be missed” at a funeral after a person has departed, a dying person may not receive this well.
A listener might perceive “You will be missed” as cold and unfeeling if said to someone with whom you have a more intimate relationship. For example, if they are about to go on a lengthy trip, this phrase would seem almost indifferent to their leaving. In this situation, use the active voice: “I will miss you.”
If a situation calls for personal and individual warmth, “You will be missed” is likely not the appropriate phrase to use.
What Can You Use Instead of “You Will Be Missed”?
Since “You will be missed” means “I will miss you” or even “Goodbye,” there are alternative ways to convey your sense of loss at another’s departure.
Some alternatives include the following:
- I wish we had more time together.
- We should stay in touch.
- I am grieving your loss.
- We are all going to miss you.
- We appreciate your service to our company, and we will miss your contributions.
- You will always have a special place in my heart.
- I will think of you often.
Notice that some of these are when you need to use a more personal touch to your statement, while others are different ways to convey that the group will miss a person.
Polite Expressions in the Passive Voice
There are many different strategies to communicate politely in English. Using the passive voice is one of these strategies. It creates distance and thus becomes a less direct way of addressing someone.
There are multiple strategies to be polite in conversational English (source). One of the most effective ways to make a sentence polite is to make it less direct. You can accomplish this by using the passive voice.
Using the passive voice instead of an active voice creates distance and thus avoids a direct accusation (source). The passive voice can turn a conversation from being about a person to being about a thing.
For example, if you believe your co-worker, Jim, ate your tuna sandwich, using the passive voice can help you. Instead of saying, “Jim, you ate my tuna sandwich,” try saying, “My tuna sandwich was eaten.” This gives Jim a chance to confess without a direct accusation.
If a person on your team made a critical error, it might be tempting to shift the blame to them. However, it is more polite to employ the passive voice. For example, instead of saying, “Molly made a mistake in adding up the numbers,” you could say, “There was a mistake in adding up the numbers.”
In English, there are many preset sayings we use almost automatically in certain situations. “You will be missed” is one of these. We use these common phrases frequently and rarely modify their form.
Each culture has idioms, which are phrases not taken literally. There are also common phrases in languages that you take literally and use often. Mastering these can help in conversational English.
A phrase is made of two or more words acting as a unit in a sentence (source). A common phrase is a sequence of words forming a unit we often use.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Here is a chart outlining a few common phrases and their meaning:
|You will be missed.||We will feel a void because you are gone.|
|Cut it out!||Asking someone to stop doing something|
|Drop me a line||Write me, text me, call me, or send me an email.|
|Sleep on it||Let me give something more time for thought.|
|Do you mind?||Is it okay if I do this thing?|
|What’s up?||A greeting similar to “How are you?”|
|Sit tight||To be patient; to wait for a moment|
|By all means||Of course; certainly; a way of granting permission|
“You will be missed” is a common phrase that communicates that a person will leave a void when they are no longer present. You can employ this phrase when the speaker wants to indirectly tell someone they will be missed and also communicate that many people will miss the person leaving.