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  1. In the first few months**,** when he stayed at the hotel, he went to restaurants a lot.
  2. In the first few months when he stayed at the hotel, he went to restaurants a lot.
  3. In the early months**,** when they lived in an expensive rented house, they had to work overtime to make ends meet.
  4. In the early months when they lived in an expensive rented house, they had to work overtime to make ends meet.

Is there a difference between the meanings of '1' and '2'?

Is there a difference between the meanings of '3' and '4'?

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1 and 2 have identical meanings. 3 and 4 seem to imply different things. 3 appears to imply "they lived in one place, then they moved". 4 doesn't imply that. It has an unnatural, wooden sound to it, (and I hope I don't sound too harsh here) like something written by a child.

If you to make 4 sound more natural, you'd say,

In the early months they lived in an expensive rented house. They had to work overtime to make ends meet.

You'd break into two sentences. Two pieces of information, therefore two sentences. 2 could also benefit from this.

In the first few months, he stayed at the hotel. He went to restaurants a lot.

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  • If you mean that he stayed on at the hotel but stopped going to restaurants so much, you could say In the first few months of his stay… – Kate Bunting Dec 3 '19 at 9:22
  • I think that 1. and 2. are saying different things. 1. is saying that it was (only) when he was staying at the hotel during the first few months that he went to restaurants a lot. (When he was staying elsewhere, he didn't.) 2. is saying that during the three months when he first stayed at the hotel he went to restaurants a lot. The implication is that he didn't go to restaurants during his later stay at the hotel. – Ronald Sole Dec 3 '19 at 12:57

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