Regarding the phrase 'j'ai cru que je n'y arriverais jamais', I was thinking that 'j'ai cru' might need to be followed by the subjunctive, as the part after j'ai cru is negative. Does the subjunctive rule only apply if it is je n'ai pas cru perhaps?
Freeform Writing Exercise C1
You are correct. The French have no ‘doubt’ about what they think/know/believe/find/claim (they are not unique in this) - the subjunctive is not used in the affirmative statements with penser/crier/trouver/savoir/prétendre.
On the other hand they do have ‘doubt’ about what they don’t think etc ... so the subjunctive is used with these verbs in the negative
"Penser/trouver/savoir/croire/prétendre que" are followed with the indicative mood (L'Indicatif) in affirmative sentences BUT with the subjunctive mood (Le Subjonctif) in negative ones
As mentioned in the lesson link in Maarten's answer :
penser que + Indicatif (to think that) / ne pas penser que + Subjonctif
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
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