These two words can be confusing for students because they are homophones. This means that vein and vain have the same pronunciation, but their meaning is different and they also belong to different parts of speech.
Let's look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.
Vein is a noun. It refers to one of the tubes in your body that carries blood to your heart.
Another meaning is the thin lines on a leaf.
Here are some examples of how this word is used:
The word vein can also be used to show a particular mood or manner.
Vain is an adjective. We use this word to describe someone who is too interested in their appearance, abilities or achievements.
The word vain is also used in the phrase in vain, which means unsuccessful or useless attempt.
Although the words vain and vein sound the same, remember that they are different parts of speech. The word vein, which is a noun, can stand on its own and be the subject of a sentence, whereas the word vain cannot stand on its own to be a subject. It is an adjective.
Ms. Emily Johnson is a nice elderly lady who lives alone. She is vain about her clothes and she likes when everybody compliments her. Despite being vain, Ms. Johnson is very friendly and adores children. Every Saturday Ms. Johnson makes cookies for the children in her neighborhood.
However, this Saturday she is not feeling very well. She tries in vain to get out of her bed and start making cookies. Unfortunately, Ms. Johnson is still in bed and she calls her doctor.
When he comes to her house, she makes a vain attempt to leave her bed. However, her legs are aching and shaking. The doctor examines them and says: "Ms. Johnson, you have a light problem with your blood circulation and the veins on your legs. You should do more physical activities to improve your circulation. The problem with your veins can be solved, and you shouldn't continue in the same vein. Try to start today."
Ms Johnson decides to listen to her doctor. She is feeling much better now as she is making cookies for the children.
Answer the following 10 questions and then check your answers. Each question is worth 10 points.
In the following sentences choose the word which you think is correct.
1: Vain | 2: Vain | 3: Vein | 4: Veins | 5: Vain | 6: Vein | 7: Vain | 8: Veins | 9: Vain | 10: Vein