Vain, Vein, Vane

A friend of mine ranted one day that you should know what you’re doing before you start putting your writing out there for public consumption.

His specific example: someone wrote “died in vein.”

A vein is a stretchy tube inside body which carries de-oxygenated blood back to the heart.

A vane is a metal object which shows wind direction (aka “a weather vane”).

Vain Obit“Vain,” on the other hand, can mean self-absorbed or without purpose or use. When it means “without purpose,” it often comes behind the preposition “in,” as in “all of my studying was in vain; I still failed the test.”

When you can’t remember whether someone died in vain or in vein, just start singing:

“You’re so vain, you probably think this obit is about you.”

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