I was writing that I have "fixed a small error", and when I translated it to German it said:

"Behebung eines kleinen Fehler"

I understand that Fehler is maskulin, therefore "kleinen" is used in Akkusative form, but why did "ein" change to "eines"?


  • 3
    “When I translated it” - did you use a tool, website or app?
    – Stephie
    Apr 7 at 6:52
  • yes, sadly google translate
    – James
    Apr 7 at 6:55
  • 2
    I don’t see it: translate.google.com/…
    – Carsten S
    Apr 7 at 6:58
  • 1
    Note that this phrase is incorrect, as it should be in the genitive case here, which would make it "Fehlers". Apr 7 at 8:03

In this case, it's not the accusative, but the genitive (Wessen Behebung? or Behebung wessen?). That's the reason why ein changed into eines (note that Fehler needs to transform into Fehlers for this => "Behebung eines kleinen Fehlers").

Note, that this sentence uses the Nominalstil (nominal style), it transforms the verb (beheben) into a noun (Behebung). That's because there was no subject given in the original sentence. A correct version would be "I fixed a small error", it would literally translate into "Ich behob einen kleinen Fehler".

An alternative to translate "fixed a small error", would be "kleinen Fehler behoben", which is not a full sentence for its own, but your original english sentence is neither. It's only suitable for the use in lists, like changelogs.

  • Thanks. Is "Ich behob" used more in writing than in speaking? So If I said it, it would be "ich habe einen kleinen Fehler behoben"?
    – James
    Apr 7 at 7:42
  • 1
    Yes, that's correct. In spoken language, perfect is more often used instead of the usual past tense.
    – convaldo
    Apr 7 at 7:46
  • That makes sense, thanks. Regarding the nominal style, has it therefore translated it as "the fix(ing) of a small error", therefore "a small error" is in the genetiv form? If so, why is only the "eines" affected and not the "klein(en)". I would have assumed eines kleines Fehler would be the genetiv form?
    – James
    Apr 7 at 7:52
  • How is it that this (otherwise correct) answer completely ignores the grammar mistake in the original translation, as the genitive of "Fehler" is actually "Fehlers"? Apr 7 at 8:02
  • 1
    @c.p. I didn't add it, I corrected wessens because it had an s too much. Apr 7 at 19:21

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