Which preposition follows 'vain' when it is used as a synonym for proud?


The actress was vain ___ her looks.

It should be worth noting that I'm in ICSE, and that at this point, I don't even know if the sentence is correct at all...

2 Answers 2


I would use about in that sentence so it reads: The actress was vain about her looks , which makes complete sense as an English sentence

Just keep in mind that vain isn't perfectly synonymous with proud, as vain in that sense means to be excessively proud of or concerned about one's own appearance.

Source: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/vain?s=t

  • 2
    Another suggestion: "The actress was vain regarding her looks."
    – Mrssbolton
    Jan 12, 2018 at 21:16
  • I too feel that regarding would be more appropriate. +1 from me!
    – Robo Mop
    Jan 26, 2018 at 3:40

I'd say the sentence isn't quite right. My argument would be that to be vain is a state of mind, it's not an action done towards an object.

You could say "The actress was vain".

Vain means: having or showing an excessively high opinion of one's appearance - so to mention something about looks is redundant, since the word vain already refers to that.

  • When an action is done towards an object, that's called a "direct object". When an action involves an object, that's an "indirect object". Indirect objects are separated from the verb by a preposition. The preposition "about" marks "her looks" as an indirect object; "her looks" descries the subject matter of her vanity. Jan 12, 2018 at 20:38
  • Yes, but my point is that to mention "her looks" is redundant since vanity is already about one's looks..- to be vain describes that already.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 13, 2018 at 10:24
  • Your first paragraph talks about being vain not having a direct object (which is a bit weird, since "vain" is an adjective, and verbs, not adjectives, have objects). "Vain" absolutely is not restricted to looks. Jan 14, 2018 at 1:36

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