We can differentiate with the next word following it 'liest'. Since it says 'liest' obviously it is for Er (Er liest.) If it is 'lest' then we can assume the word is Ihr (Ihr lest.)
And now I feel dumb. Never assume to know something! Thank you for the enlightenment.
It goes to the end in a sentence or question with a direct object, but because "viele" (many) is being negated and not "bücher", you are negating just the adjective. And when negating an adjective or adverb you place it directly before the adjective or adverb. This adjective just so happens to come after the verb, but the verb is not being negated. So simply, he isn't denying that he reads. He also isnt denying reading books. He is simply doesnt read MANY(adjective) books.
"Nicht" can be put almost anywhere in the sentence after the subject and verb. It should normally be place after a verb, but when you place it in different areas, the meaning of the sentence can change. (e.x. "Ich habe nicht die aelteste Mutter" v.s "Ich habe die aelteste Mutter nicht". Basically put, nicht at the end of the sentence negates the whole sentences, while nicht in the sentence give leniency in meaning.
Back when it asked "I don't know that bird," I put "ich kenne nicht den Vogel," and it said it was wrong, that nicht has to go at the end. Now it gives "er liest nicht viele Bücher" and puts it after the verb and it's okay? I understand they're not exactly the same, but I fail to see how I was wrong before.
Would 'Er liest die Bücher nicht' be correct then? Is it the 'many' that changes where the negation goes?
The idea about translating is to translate to a usable sentence. You'd never say in English "He reads not many books", but rather "He doesn't read many books".
I don't think this question is right. From my current understanding, the position of "nicht" changes depending on the context of the sentence. It comes after direct and indirect objects, but before predicate nominatives, like "Das Auto ist nicht alt" -> "The car is not old," and "Ich bin nicht voll!" I think this sentence should read, "Er liest viele Bücher nicht." Please, someone, correct me if I'm wrong, because I'd benefit from the criticism. :)
I think you're right in principle but your conclusion is wrong. In your first example you are negating old so nicht comes before alt, as is the case in your second example. In the sentencein question you are trying to negate a lot (of books) so you have to put nicht before viele.
So, would it be correct to assume this sentence implies that "he reads books, just not many"?
YES read "gattica2015"'s comment above. In this case nicht is negating the adjective "many". Not the verb.
Hey man, I had to translate "He does not read many books" in a question on this level and I submitted "Er liest viele Bücher nicht" and was marked as correct. So I'm led to believe both translations are valid, however I'm not sure which is "more correct" or is more commonly used
Er liest nicht viele Bücher?!?!? Er ist missing out on one of the best things in life!!!!!
(And that's why libraries exist - so "The best things in life are free" can still be true...)
I think it will still be "viele Äpfel", (e.g. Ich esse viele Äpfel) because "Äpfel" is plural and accusative in this context. "Viele" (many, a lot of) is already plural by definition and therefore doesn't need to be conjugated to suit any genders. Plurals already have their own specific conjugation, so the gender of the singular is irrelevant. However, in the dative case, "vielen" is used. E.g. Ich spiele mit vielen Äpfeln.
It is a shame I would have to know such a sentence :( Could it be "He reads very many books instead"?
Very difficult to hear the different between liest and lest, let alone Ihr and Er! I guess context is going to be very important here!
He reads not many books should be accepted. It is still a correct sentence but it isn't very common.