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I've been told by native speakers that "I've been playing with you like a little toy" is more appropriate than "I've been playing with you like with a little toy". Why is that? I can't seem to understand why "like a little toy" wouldn't imply that it is me who is a little toy, and I'm playing with you (although I get that it wouldn't make any sense). What is the grammar rule that can resolve my question?

I would understand it, if it was that you don't use "with" when you say "playing you" instead of "playing with you", which creates incompatibility between "you" and "a little toy" in the sentence, in my mind.

Also, another question, that popped up in my mind while I was writing this. Is it correct to say "I get that..." or "I get it that..." (like in "although I get that it wouldn't make any sense" that I wrote)?

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    If by sth you mean something, please write out the actual word. – Jason Bassford May 5 at 15:05
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    If you want an answer to "another question, that popped up in [your] mind", then please raise a separate question. – TrevorD May 8 at 23:16
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Strictly speaking, you are correct.

I've been playing with you like a little toy.

This means that you have been playing in the manner of a little toy. Your behaviour has been toy-like. (Whatever that means.)

I've been playing with you like with a little toy.

This means that you have been playing with me as if you were playing with a little toy. It's not saying that you are behaving as a toy; instead, it's saying that you are treating me as a toy.


But, having said that, the first sentence would likely be understood, idiomatically, in the same way as the second. This is because it doesn't make any sense to say that your style of play is toy-like, so we would mentally translate the literal meaning of the words into what we believe to be their intended meaning. We also tend to simplify sentences, which is why we would normally drop with if the intended meaning is still conveyed without it.


Note that if somebody actually meant the literal meaning of the first sentence, they would no doubt have to rephrase it slightly to make it explicitly clear—and prevent any kind of incorrect mental translation:

In playing with you, I've been behaving like a little toy.

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