The words \u201cvain,\u201d \u201cvane,\u201d and \u201cvein\u201d are homophones \u2013 words that differ in spelling and meaning but are pronounced the same.\n\nTo avoid mixing them up in your writing, though, all you need to do is check out our guide about how to use these words correctly.\nVain (Egoistic or Pointless)\n\u201cVain\u201d is an adjective. It is most often used to describe someone with a very high opinion of themselves, especially their appearance. For example:\nHe was so vain he did nothing but stare at the mirror all day.\nHere, \u201cvain\u201d modifies the noun \u201che.\u201d And what we\u2019re saying in this sentence is that spending too long staring into the mirror is a sign of vanity.\n\n[caption id="attachment_12129" align="aligncenter" width="404"] If Greek mythology teaches us anything, it's to not fall in love with your own reflection.[\/caption]\n\nThis term can also describe something as useless or unsuccessful:\nThe little boy made a vain attempt to eat all his dinner.\nIn this case, \u201cvain\u201d modifies the noun \u201cattempt.\u201d You may also see this sense of the word in the phrase \u201cin vain,\u201d which again implies a failed attempt:\nHe grabbed in vain at the rope ladder, but it was too far away.\nTry to keep both the \u201cegoistic\u201d and \u201cpointless\u201d definitions in mind.\nVane (Something Moved by Wind or Water Pressure)\n\u201cVane\u201d is always a noun. Broadly, it refers to the flat part of any object that rotates under pressure from a fluid or gas. The blades of a propeller or a windmill, for instance, are \u201cvanes.\u201d\n\nMore commonly, though, we see \u201cvane\u201d in \u201cweather vane.\u201d This is a device placed on top of a building to show wind direction. For example, we might say:\nThe weather vane on top of the church pointed south.\nAs you can see above, \u201cweather vane\u201d is usually written as two words in American English. But "weathervane" is also common.\n\n[caption id="attachment_12127" align="aligncenter" width="378"] Which way does the wind blow?(Photo: Elsemargriet\/Pixabay)[\/caption]\nVein (A Tube that Carries Blood or a Layer in Something)\n\u201cVein\u201d is a noun with a few related meanings. The most common refers to the tubes that carry blood to the heart. For instance:\n\u00a0The vena cava is a large vein that runs from the head, neck and upper limbs.\nThe tubes that carry blood away from the heart are known as arteries.\n\nA \u201cvein\u201d can also be a range of similar biological tubes, such as the those that run through a leaf, giving it structure and carrying water.\n\n[caption id="attachment_12131" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Leafy veins.(Photo: MabelAmber\/Pixabay)[\/caption]\n\nAnother usage comes from geology, where a vein is a layer within rock:\nThey struck a rich vein of gold ore 200 meters down.\nThis sense of \u2018vein\u2019 can also be used more metaphorically. For example:\nThe crime series had a vein of dark humor running through it.\nHere, the word \u201cvein\u201d implies a layer or element of dark humor within the series, similar to a layer of metal or mineral in a larger body of rock.\nSummary: Vain, Vane or Vein?\nWhen using \u201cvain,\u201d \u201cvane,\u201d and \u201cvein\u201d in writing, remember:\n\n \tVain is an adjective that can mean \u201cself-regarding\u201d or \u201cunsuccessful.\u201d\n \tA vane is a flat surface that rotates when pressured by fluid, gas, steam, or air. The most common place to see this word is as part of \u201cweathervane.\u201d\n \tA vein is typically a tube that carried blood or water in an organism, but it can also be a layer within something (e.g., metal in rock).\n\nRemember that \u201cvain\u201d is always an adjective, while \u201cvane\u201d and \u201cvein\u201d are both nouns. So if you need to modify a noun, \u201cvain\u201d will always be correct.\n\nWith \u201cvane\u201d and \u201cvein,\u201d meanwhile, keep in mind that \u201cvane\u201d is usually only seen in \u201cweathervane.\u201d And \u201cveins\u201d are blood \u201cvessels,\u201d which both start with \u201cve,\u201d making it easier to remember how this word is spelled.\n\nIf you\u2019d like an expert editor to help check your writing for errors, moreover, you can always try our proofreading service for free.