Den größten Fehler, den man im Leben machen kann, ist, immer Angst zu haben, einen Fehler zu machen.

This is translated into

The biggest mistake you can make in life is always being afraid of making a mistake.

But, why is it "Den grössten Fehler"? Shouldn't it be "Der grössten Fehler"? (Fehler is masculine noun and it seems to be a subject word.)

  • @TheAwfulLanguage ok, but to me, it seems Fehler is the subject word for the whole sentence and the verb of the whole sentence is 'ist'. The object of the first 'machen' is 'den'(a relative noun). Isn't it right?
    – Chan Kim
    Jul 22, 2019 at 7:02
  • It's falsely attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but actually from Elbert Hubbard (1901): "The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." It was then incorrectly translated into German. See this article by Gerald Krieghofer. Jul 22, 2019 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


Your analysis is correct. This is a mistake. It should be "Der größte Fehler, den man im Leben machen kann".

  • Oh, it's reassuring my understanding was correct! Thanks!
    – Chan Kim
    Jul 22, 2019 at 13:16

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