Wednesday, December 7, 2011


In vain usually comes after verbs such as try, search, hunt, look, wait, fight etc. or after the verb be: ‘Her voice was beginning to rise and she tried in vain to control it.’ ‘A team of surgeons battled save him but it was all in vain.’ ‘I was never in any doubt that my efforts would be in vain.’

In other situations, use without success or to no avail: ‘They did everything they could to protect her, but (all) to no avail.’ ‘The police did their best to rescue the hostages but without success.’

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