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Are these sentences correct?

  • クリスマスパソコンを買った。
  • クリスマスのときパソコンを買った。
  • クリスマスのときにパソコンを買った。

What is the difference when using に、とき, ときに?

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  • At Christmas, I bought...
  • During Christmas, I bought...
  • During Christmas time, I bought...

There aren't any significant differences in the English sentences above. They mean the same thing. Much the same case for your sentences. とき is a shortened form of ときに, which is a more explicit and completely unambiguous version of に.

In your scenario, the temporal use of に is extremely clear. But there may be other situations where the meaning of に (since it's a particle with a lot of meanings) is a bit ambiguous, and you might want to swap it for ときに to be extra clear in communication.

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