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In the morning:

Jack and Linda are deciding how to spend the afternoon. Jack suggests going hiking, but Linda, seeing that it's going to rain soon, suggests that it would be better to stay at home. Eventually, Jack's suggestion takes the upper hand.

Later, in the afternoon:

It's raining cats and dogs. Linda, not wanting to hurt Jack's feelings, says:

"Wouldn't just staying at home have been a better idea?"

or

"Wouldn't just staying at home have been better?"

What's the difference between these two expressions in English? Are there any subtle different connotations that only native speakers would see?

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    This is asking what the difference in meaning is, if any, between two similar sentences. We answer such questions all the time here, and this one is no more opinion based than most. It should be reopened. Jun 28, 2021 at 0:22

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"Wouldn't just staying at home have been better?" will hurt Jack's feelings less, since "better" refers to the doing stage of the activity while "Wouldn't just staying at home have been better idea?" refers to the discussion stage of the activity.

Let's say Linda's suggestion had the upper hand, then they stay home, but it turned out to be a beautiful day for hiking. I think the choice would be limited to the first one: "Wouldn't going hiking have been a better idea?"

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