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Je trouve que Max a du talent.

Je trouve normal qu'il ait du succès.

Why is the subjonctif used in the second sentence?

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3 Answers

The parallel between the two sentences doesn't hold. In the first one, you give your opinion about Max's gift. If you remove "trouver" and you just state a fact, you'll say

Max a du talent.

In the second sentence, you give your opinion about the naturalness of Max success and not about the existence itself of the success. State a fact again, you'll say

Il est normal qu'il ait du succès.
Qu'il ait du succès est normal.

But the use of the subjontif is quite complex and often a question of usage more than rational rules. See

Qu'il ait du succès est certain.
Il est certain qu'il a du succès.

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The important point here is that "trouve" in the second case is irrelevant. One could just as well say:

Il est normal que Max ait du succès.

Or better yet:

Je trouve qu'il est normal que Max ait du succès.

It is the subjectiveness of the normalcy that triggers the subjunctive, not "trouver".

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Je trouve que + indicatif.

Je trouve __ (adj) que + subjonctif.

(expression figée)

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