Sometimes I hear people say
Penso che è in ritardo.
Penso che sia in ritardo.
I know I should use the subjunctive after verbs that state an opinion, my grammar book says so, but are both colloquially accepted and equally correct?
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Google Books shows 3 hits for 'penso che è', whereas it shows 750,000 hits for 'penso che sia', thus demonstrating that the former is ungrammatical and almost nonexistent in written language.
Yes, colloquially one can say almost anything they want to say, but, if the listeners are educated persons they will think that the person who says 'penso che è' is an ignorant(one).