Ideas for Tombstone Inscriptions

Updated February 21, 2017

A tombstone inscription, also called an epitaph, is a final sentiment expressing love for and devotion to the departed. Sometimes it's hard to come up with the perfect verse or phrase to express exactly how much your loved one meant to you in life. There are several themes and ideas to consider when you are at a loss for words.

Religious Verses

Quotes from the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon and other religious books are always popular. At times of loss, people often turn to the comfort of their faith to get them through this difficult time. Memorialising a friend or relative with a religious verse is a first choice of many people and shows the individual's belief in the afterlife. A favourite verse of the departed is a also thoughtful choice. Two biblical examples are: "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted," Matthew 5:4, and "... Well done, thou good and faithful servant," Matthew 25:2.

Poetry, Literary Quotes and Song Lyrics

A line from a favourite poem or song of the deceased is a frequent choice for the headstone inscription. A beloved passage from a treasured book is a meaningful option as well. Think about what songs, poems and books meant the most to the departed and scour them for poignant words appropriate for an everlasting commemoration. Famous poems from Yeats, Dickinson, Whitman and Tennyson are just a sampling of choices. Song lyrics from any genre are appropriate if they have meaning and significance to you.

Comforting Words

Sometimes the best thing to put on a tombstone is words of comfort. That way visitors to the grave can take solace in the sentiment expressed on the headstone. Words such as "She rests in the embrace of God," "He touched many lives on earth and even more in heaven" or "Alive in heaven, alive in spirit" can provide uplifting thoughts to those who visit the grave and give them comfort.


If your loved one was a real character with a sense of humour, a funny epitaph is an option. Death doesn't always have to mean sadness and no doubt the departed would smile to know she was remembered with laughter. Think of the good times you had together and come up with your own rhyming sentiment. "I told you I was sick!" appears on a tombstone in Georgia. Another in Thurmont, Md., reads "Here lies an atheist, all dressed up and nowhere to go." Humorous epitaphs are memorable as well as funny.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Amie Taylor has been a writer since 2000. Book reviews, gardening and outdoor lawn equipment repair articles and short fiction account for a handful of her published works. Taylor gained her gardening and outdoor equipment repair experience from working in the landscaping and lawn-care business she and her husband own and operate.