"Er liest nicht viele Bücher."

Translation:He does not read many books.

March 22, 2013



It can be hard to tell the difference between Er and Ihr!

August 9, 2013


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.)

May 8, 2014


And now I feel dumb. Never assume to know something! Thank you for the enlightenment.

September 21, 2014



January 31, 2018


Isn't it also "Ihr liest"?

July 2, 2014


No, it should be "Ihr lest" or "Er liest"

July 7, 2014


Thank you

July 7, 2014


Is it lest? I would have said lesen. Is lest even a form of lieat? I thought it was liest, lesen, lese.

May 31, 2014


No, it should be "Ihr lest" or "Er liest"

July 7, 2014


Think of air vs ear

May 9, 2015


Yes. This.

September 21, 2014


Well, at least here it is. When I have doubts I try Google translate to listen the sound. According to it, this sentence was supposed to be "Ihr (iAAr)" not "Er( EErr)".

June 18, 2014


Which is wrong.

February 3, 2015


I still don't understand why 'nicht' isn't in the end of the sentence, as usual

March 18, 2014


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.

July 10, 2014


Nice explanation! I hope you're a native speaker...

August 20, 2014


Great reply. I'll give u a lingot. :)

October 30, 2014


Really nice explanation. Danke!

March 7, 2016


Danke !!!, Much helpful explanation.

May 12, 2016


Yeah, same here. I thought it was always at the end of the sentence.

March 30, 2014


"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.

April 18, 2014


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.

April 25, 2014


Would 'Er liest die Bücher nicht' be correct then? Is it the 'many' that changes where the negation goes?

May 21, 2014


Yes. I believe if you took "viele" out of the sentence, you are now negating "books." So, you would move the "nicht" to the end.

January 11, 2015


Thank you!

April 20, 2014


Hi ra dora

March 2, 2016


cause it's negating "viele" which is an adverb, according to the tips they gave, it comes before adverbs, so I think that's why

August 9, 2014


Why not "he reads not many books" ?

March 22, 2013


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".

April 6, 2013


He reads ... not is perfectly correct in English, just as "He knows that not", "They go there not" etc. You encounter this a lot in literature

January 28, 2014


Not in modern literature - it would be regarded as somewhat stilted and affected (in my opinion)

March 3, 2014


no it isn't. If anyone said this to me, as a native speaker, I would look at them funny. I would know what they meant, but I would also know they don't speak English naturally.

March 4, 2014


It is correct, but this sort of sentence structure simply isn't used much anymore. As the quotes given by juncode have expressed, it was much more common to say things this way centuries ago. But the fact of correct grammar remains unchanged.

June 27, 2015


Language is a living thing, so grammar does change.

July 4, 2015


This is absolutely right not.

August 20, 2014


(aside) How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. He said I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone. And truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love, very near this. I’ll speak to him again.—(to HAMLET) What do you read, my lord?

August 20, 2014


but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus Matthew 1:25

August 20, 2014


I know it's rare but you sometimes do hear things like "Fret not" or "I know not"--usually the speaker is purposely speaking archaically just for fun or emphasis--but I don't think it was ever correct and acceptable to separate the verb and the "not" within the sentence.

November 20, 2014


It actually is correct and acceptable. It is a modifier that you can put nearest the word it modifies, and there will be a difference in negating the verb vs negating the adjective that follows the verb.

However, the first person who answered this question has a point. Unless there's greater utility in negating "many" instead of the verb (and I can think of instances when this can be more practical to do), it would be better to just negate the whole thing (ie negate the act of reading many books). It makes the thought easier to understand.

February 27, 2015


Wrong. I most certainly would say, "He reads not many books." I am a native speaker and a teacher.

February 22, 2014


Not in America. I would look at you funny.

March 4, 2014


It does not matter. Whether it is used colloquially or not, it is proper English syntax to say "[subject] [verb] not".

April 10, 2014


It sounds like the kind of sentence you didn't plan ahead of time. As in, "He reads..." Wait, what even does he read? "...not many books."

And sorry, but it does matter. It may be considered proper English syntax in the books but the fact that nobody speaks like that should be a pretty good reason to avoid using it. Language is ever changing and growing. By all means, use that sentence structure if you like, but you must accept that people will indeed look at you funny.

November 20, 2014


Well, technically.

February 3, 2015


i dont understand the sytanx of nicht can someone explain

July 6, 2013


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. :)

July 13, 2013


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.

July 31, 2013


So, would it be correct to assume this sentence implies that "he reads books, just not many"?

November 21, 2013


YES read "gattica2015"'s comment above. In this case nicht is negating the adjective "many". Not the verb.

July 23, 2014


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

December 23, 2013


He reads few books should be correct.

July 18, 2014


This is right, and something that might be said in common language

December 16, 2014


So "nicht viele" directly translates to "not many" but that is not idiomatic English. So I think translating "nicht viele" to "few" should be correct.

December 25, 2014


Why viele? Not vielen?

April 18, 2014


"Bücher" is a plural, accusative, neuter noun. This leads you to conjugate "viel-" as plural, accusative, and neuter, which ends up as "viele".

Take a look at these tables These will clear up any adjective conjugating issues you may have.

edited: Nov. 2014

May 25, 2014


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.

October 24, 2014


You are correct. Thank you for catching my mistake.

November 26, 2014


It is a shame I would have to know such a sentence :( Could it be "He reads very many books instead"?

October 6, 2015



March 2, 2016


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!

May 2, 2016


Would "Er viele Bücher liest nicht" be another possible solution?

June 30, 2016


Would "He reads few books" be a sufficient translation?

January 12, 2017


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...)

April 10, 2017


He reads not many books should be accepted. It is still a correct sentence but it isn't very common.

October 22, 2017


Why Viel and Viele?

April 17, 2019


"He is reading not too many books"

Would that be correct?

February 13, 2014


that would be an opinion. Duolingo gave a statement.

  • Duolingo said: He reads some books, not many, but some.
  • you said: He reads not too many books. = Er liest nicht zu viele Bücher. (you say he reads not too many books (50 books), another guy thinks 5 books a year are too many, therefore it is an opinion.)
April 18, 2015


Many books = Viele Bücher. Since Bücher is plural why is it not vielen?

February 16, 2014


See markatron's excellent answer to CheenuKY.

August 20, 2014


Sorry I misread your comment, so I edited this one. Viele is not a verb and thus doesn't need to be conjugated.

May 18, 2014


How would one say 'he reads not many books?' There is a subtle difference here...

February 23, 2015


Is viele pronounced as with an 'f'

April 12, 2015



September 9, 2017


Why does he not read many books?

April 30, 2015


Id love to hear the audio of these... mine would have me saying the phrase, and then mein hunde barking, then me yelling at them to shut up.,. Lol

August 20, 2015


Why is it marked wrong with 'he doesn't read much books'? I know viele means many and viel is much, but where I am from its more colloquial to say much books and not many books.

September 3, 2015


Thats not proper English.

November 13, 2015


He reads very little books needs to be added to acceptable responses.

August 30, 2017


What's the difference between viele and manche?

February 2, 2014


The definitions that I wrote down from Duolingo was that Manche means Some, A Few, and Viele means Many, A Lot, Much

February 15, 2014


How would one translate, "he hasn't read many books"?

May 18, 2014


God help me...With the placement of nicht in german sentences

June 2, 2014


I just did a question where I should listen this sentence and write it down. The version of the question where I should listen, sounds exactly like "Ihr" and here, where is written and I have to translate, sounds exactly like "Er". I think this needs some correction.

June 18, 2014


Just wrote: "He is not reading enough books." Thought it would count because I know "viele" is "many". "Enough" sounds better.

February 22, 2015


That's an opinion. That's your opinion. How many is 'enough'? 5, 10, 50, 500 books?

"Er liest nicht genügend Bücher."(enough) is not the same as "Er liest nicht viele Bücher."(many)

  • The school tells him he has to read 5 books a year for school. He reads these 5 books, that would be enough. --> but 5 books won't be many books if you ask his mother.
April 18, 2015


I forgot 1 letter and got it wrong

May 3, 2014


i think "er" should be sound like "air" and "ihr" should be sound like "ear" it will be very clear to understand plz report about this if you agree

May 8, 2014


Annoying when it says it is wrong before I finish the sentence

May 13, 2014


If you're talking about a speaking question and you're using a phone, I found that this problem went away if I spoke very close to the microphone.

August 20, 2014


Why is 'Vielen' incorrect? Also don't we say 'Vielen Danke' meaning- many thanks. Why is it 'Vielen' there?

May 15, 2014


"Bücher" is a plural, accusative, neuter noun. This leads you to conjugate "viel-" as plural, accusative, and neuter, which ends up as "viele". If it were apples instead of books that were being described, then it would "vielen Äpfel".

This also applies to your example of "vielen dank". "Dank" is a masculine noun and this would cause "viel-" to become "vielen."

May 25, 2014


pronouncations are very difficult to recognise.. can't we have a male voice..

July 1, 2014


I write "nicht" and DL said I got typo. Is this a problem ?

August 11, 2014


Why it is wrong he do not.?

August 22, 2014


So to write he do not read many books we will write Er liest keine viele Bücher.

August 27, 2014


Why is the sentence: "He hasn't read many books" correct?

September 22, 2014


What if we put the "nicht" at the end of the sentence? Er liest viele Bücher nicht. Would it be correct not not?

January 15, 2015


Shouldn't "He does not read very many books" be acceptable?

December 20, 2014


No, it shouldn't.

December 20, 2014



December 24, 2014


because it's not a proper use of the English language. Why did you put the word 'very' in the middle of the sentence? It's not found even in the German translation.

January 22, 2015


I think it should be "Er nicht leist viele Bucher" !!

February 20, 2014


That's not right. In German the negation always follows the verb.

February 20, 2014


Hmm, so is "Er kein leist viele Bucher" correct ?

February 21, 2014


Kein means not a or not any as in Ich habe keine Bücher (I don't have any books). Nicht means not as in Er liest nicht viele Bücher (He doesn't read many books).

The difference is hard to distinguish.

My hair isn't red - Mein Haar ist nicht Rot / / I don't have red hair - Ich habe keine roten Haare

Hope this helps.

February 21, 2014


It helps a little !!

February 22, 2014


This is ridiculous, "He doesn't read much books" should definitely be accepted

May 25, 2014


The meaning of your sentence can easily be understood, but in English someone would never say “much books"; thats why your sentence isn accepted. Use “many books“ instead.

May 28, 2014


English being my native tongue, I can vouch for the use of "much books" being vastly more common than "many books", although both are used. It's likely this is influenced somewhat by colloquialisms, but I'm almost certain it's still grammatically correct.

May 28, 2014


Grammatically speaking, as a native English speaker, you know to use 'many' when the noun it refers to is plural and 'much' when the noun is uncountable (nouns that can be plural or singular in the same form). This is why one cannot say 'much books.' Personally, I have never heard someone transpose the two. When you speak English as your first language, grammar errors between much and many are clear because, when used incorrectly, the sentence sounds... weird, for lack of a better term. Some examples: http://www.learnamericanenglishonline.com/Red%20Level/R8_Many_and_Much.html

June 1, 2014


Ah I see, thank you! Perhaps I should become more versed in the intricacies of English grammar

June 2, 2014


Yes it should‼

January 16, 2015
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.