I am a Spanish speaker. Recently I found the following sentence in linguee.com:

I had never been married and I was sure that I would never find anyone who would love and accept me, especially …

I also found the following one:

This amendment cannot be accepted as it would exclude from the Directive anyone who had taken a distance-learning course …

Now, in Spanish we would say the second sentence just as it is written here with "had taken" in subjunctive. Can a native English speaker explain why the first sentence uses the conditional "would love" instead of the past subjunctive "anyone who loved me" just like in the other sentence? Or why the second sentence is not written "anyone who would have written"? what is the difference between them? They are both hypothetical, aren't they?

closed as off-topic by David, Bread, J. Taylor, curiousdannii, Skooba May 22 '18 at 12:36

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    English does not function like Spanish does. They are two different languages. A subjunctive construction in Spanish will not automatically be found as a subjunctive construction in English. I don't find I had never been married and I was sure that I would never find anyone who would love and accept me to have anything to do with the subjunctive. If someone is not sure of something, that is not talking about irrealis, it is talking about the speaker's uncertainty. In English there is not really, today, a subj mood, just certain constructions that some label as subjunctive. – AmE speaker May 16 '18 at 18:10
  • I highly suggest you search this site for subjuntive and conditional, as the above is the best I can do at the moment and I'm sure this issue has come up dozens of times here before. – AmE speaker May 16 '18 at 18:12
  • Note when searching you'll get better results with the spelling "subjunctive" – MetaEd May 16 '18 at 18:43
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    I'm merely a native speaker, and "I was sure that I would never find anyone who loved me" sounds perfectly idiomatic to me, as would be "I was sure I would never find anyone who would love me". – WS2 May 16 '18 at 19:05

They are different in their relationship to the narrative moment. In the first sentence, "anyone who would love" is about an action/outcome after the narrative moment. In the second sentence, "anyone who had taken" is about an action/outcome before the narrative moment.

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