What of the following two sentences using the phrase "beholden to" is more correct or sounds more like natural English?

I am beholding to you a lot for your helps to me.
I am being beholden to you for your help to me.

2 Answers 2


The correct form is:

I am beholden to you for your help to me.

The verb behold means see. From Merriam-Webster:

transitive verb
1 : to perceive through sight or apprehension : see
2 : to gaze upon : observe. It was a pleasure to behold the beauty of the sunset. The enormous crowd was a sight to behold.

intransitive verb
— used in the imperative especially to call attention.

So your first sentence, I am beholding to you, means I am observing to you, which is ungrammatical.

The adjective beholden, on the other hand, means obligated, indebted, grateful. Merriam-Webster again:

: being under obligation for a favor or gift : indebted. I'm beholden to you.

Since it is an adjective, I am being beholden is not standard English; it would be like saying I am being hungry, which we don't typically say.

Further, help is uncountable, so there is no plural form helps. Your help to me is correct, not helps.

Finally, you ask which sounds more natural. Beholden sounds very formal and archaic, to the point of stiffness. It would sound more natural to say I am grateful for your help, or more formally, I'm indebted to you for your help to me.

  • To most educated, literate people over the age of 35, beholden, in the sense of "owing a debt of gratitude", would not sound archaic. He got that job by himself, not through a family connection, because he didn't want to be beholden to anyone. google.com/…
    – TimR
    Feb 13, 2017 at 11:42
  • @TRomano I tick all those boxes and while the usage you cite does sound natural to me, I'd be very surprised to hear someone tell me, "I am beholden to you".
    – verbose
    Feb 13, 2017 at 21:18
  • 1
    I suppose you will have to ratchet up your magnanimity. :)
    – TimR
    Feb 13, 2017 at 21:47
  • @TRomano ... or even to overhear it, smarty pants. :-)
    – verbose
    Feb 13, 2017 at 21:48

Neither is correct. What you're looking for is:

I am beholden to you for your help to me.

"Beholden" is not a verb, so you shouldn't conjugate it as though it were. The verb here is "to be".

Also, for what it's worth, "beholden" seems to me to be very formal. Something less formal like "Thank you for your help, I owe you one" is used more often in everyday speech.

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