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All of us are well aware that most of the people are indebted to their parents because of their efforts in our lives. I would appreciate it if someone could let me know which one of the following sentences sounds more natural to explain what I said in a natural way:

  • We can never return the big favor our parents did for us.

  • We can never settle the debt we hold with our parents.

  • The debt we owe our parents can never be paid back.

For me, the last one is not as good as the first two sentences which mean exactly the same.

I guess they all are grammatically, structurally and idiomatically correct, but I doubted if a native speaker would say it in a different and better manner.

P.S. [All of the above sentences are self-made.]

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    To me, the last sounds the most natural and most emotionally impactful. – Teacher KSHuang Jan 25 '17 at 8:38
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    Your sentences are always "self-made". I think you should trademark that expression. I've given up suggesting you use a dictionary to see how a term is used, and Googling short expressions such as return the big favor would tell you how idiomatic they are. Sometimes you get so close, I wonder if you do it deliberately. – Mari-Lou A Jan 25 '17 at 9:02
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It's funny you feel that the last sentence is not as good as the first two, because to me it seems exactly the opposite - the last sentence reads to me as being the most natural of the three.

All three, as you say, are grammatically correct, so my reasoning is subjective to a degree, but taking the first example:

We can never return the big favor our parents did for us.

favour to me very much understates the situation. When someone does me a favour, they've imparted on me an act of kindness - perhaps they've loaned me something, or covered for me at work. I wouldn't however, equate it to raising and providing for me.

In the second example:

We can never settle the debt we hold with our parents.

...the usage of hold a debt is incorrect. If somebody holds a debt, it means they are owed something, not that they owe something to another person. In this case, the parents are the debt holders, not us, as your sentence states.

One could correct the sentence by rephrasing it to:

We can never settle the debt we owe to our parents.

...which seems a little formal, but it gets the point across.

The third example:

The debt we owe our parents can never be paid back.

reads far more naturally to me. Personally, I might rearrange it slightly to read:

  • We can never pay back the debt we owe to our parents.

or simply:

  • We can never our my parents back for everything they've done for us.

...but that's more a matter of personal taste.

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"Forever indebted..."

...is a phrase often used to indicated the idea(s) expressed in the OP.

We are forever indebted to our parents for their [support | kindness | love | guidance, etc.]

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