iPhone Applications for English Majors

I’ve decided that Tuesdays here on BBCB will be devoted to posts about Literature and Technology. This week’s post will be much like my post on The Most Romantic [Male] in Literature; it will be based on a prior article I have found and want to comment on. I have owned an iPhone for over six months and it is the best tech purchase I have ever made. I really wish that I had an iPod touch or iPhone while I was in my undergraduate and graduate English programs. The flashcard programs available would have made on-the-go studying even easier and more eco-friendly. This is in addition to the organizational applications for juggling coursework deadlines and other duties. As I am always looking for new apps, paid or free , I recently decided to query ‘Best Literary iPhone Apps on google and found this link, full article text is below the link:

The 15 Best iPhone Apps for English Majors from College Times by April Lentini

Photo by: Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis on Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by: Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis on Flickr Creative Commons

Reference tools for correct grammar usage, rhyming tools and even handy quotes from classic literature are some of the things that you could have at your fingertips. Whether you are taking an English class or writing the next great American novel, here are some noteworthy English and literary apps for your iPhone or iPod touch.

#1 Grammar 1 -$0.99
Brush up on your subject nouns, adjectives, adverbs & articles. Refresh your memory on basic parts of speech. If you need to improve your grammar skills as well as your grammatical syntax, Grammar 1 is the perfect tool.

#2 The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms -$14.99
Literature students and readers will benefit from this comprehensive text that provides helpful and sometimes witty insight to almost 1,200 confusing literary terms. If you need help understanding the ancient dithyramb, the social realism of Stalin’s era or the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez for example, this app will help put it in terms you understand.

#3 Wurdle -$1.99
Have some time to kill before your next class? Play this word game to pass some extra time and you may expand your word knowledge. Identify as many words as possible by connecting letters on a word letter grid in a limited amount of time.

#4 The Hundred Best English Poems $0.99
Compiled by Adam Gowans, this eBook contains the text of “The Hundred Best English Poems” published in 1904. The compilation includes what Gowans considered the best work of British poets from the 16th to 19th centuries.

#5 Perfect Rhyme $0.99
Poets and lyricists will always have the right word with this rhyming dictionary. Find words that rhyme with other words searching a database of over 130,000 entries including common acronyms, names and plural forms.

#6 VocabDaily $1.99
Everyone could benefit from a larger vocabulary. Learn new words daily and save the words that you like using the special bookmark feature. With a very intuitive interface, this app is the most popular and easiest word of the day program in the App store.

#7 Official Shakespeare Audio Insulter $0.99
“Thou puny, weather-bitten, mammet!” This $1 app is iPhone’s spin on the Shakespearean insult generators found on the internet. Touch the picture of The Bard and he will dish out his most creative words of abuse. iPod touch owners will need a pair of headphones to hear Shakespeare’s slams.

#8 Grammar Up $4.99
Grammar is extremely important for English majors -no matter what your level is. Take the quizzes in this app which contains all major grammar topics drawn from a huge question bank. With over 1,800 questions, it is the complete solution for learning or brushing up on English grammar.

#9 Pocket Quiz: Classics of World Literature $1.99
If you like trivia-type games, you can find this app in the game section. Get quizzed on everything worth knowing about world literature such as Hamlet, Faust, Baudelaire, Don Quixote or Proust. This app comes with a two player mode and offers detailed answers that include background information and interesting illustrations.

#10 Stanza $FREE
Stanza is like a library for your iPhone that stays open 24/7. Browse more than 50,000 books available to download for free, and even more for purchase. So before buying The Art of War, The Prince or other required reading for English class, it may be worth downloading the book from Stanza. Not only will it be free, but it could be more convenient to have a “pocket edition” handy when you are on the go.

#11 Wordbook English Dictionary and Thesaurus $1.99
Let’s face it; having a good dictionary is essential. And electronic dictionaries are a dime a dozen. However, for 2 bucks, this could be the best iPhone app in its category. With more than 150,000 entries, a Thesaurus, relevant web links and spoken pronunciations, this app could be your most indispensable tool as an English student.

#12 Ambiance $0.99
Have you ever been distracted by too much noise when you write? Not everyone can afford to take a writer’s retreat in a secluded cabin or beach. But put your earphones on and Ambiance can take you there with a host of ambient noises. Listen to the soothing sound of the ocean’s waves while you’re writing in a noisy cafe. Ambiance is perfect for those who want to block out unpleasant noises but do not want to listen to distracting radio or music.

#13 WordTwiddle $1.99
If you need some creative inspiration, try this three-slot customizable word generator. Choosing your own word lists (emotions, mythological characters or objects to name a few), WordTwiddle can help you create unlikely connections that help with all aspects of creative writing including blogging, marketing or storytelling.

#14 iBlueSky $9.99
Most people who are serious about mind-mapping won’t mind the price. When you make the most of this app, it can help you organize your thoughts for problem solving, breaking down tasks, risk management, SWOT analysis, brainstorming, project and event planning and of course, screen writing. You can also use it as a study aid for learning complex information which requires diagrams and maps.

#15 Collected Works $0.99
Get these classic works on the iPhone: Alice in Wonderland, Anna Karenina, Around the World in 80 Days, Crime and Punishment, Don Quixote Volume I, Don Quixote Volume II, Madame Bovary, Oliver Twist, Scarlet Letter, The Three Musketeers and War and Peace. Now you can read or reference these classics on your iPhone or iPod.

And finally, if you are tired of living in the stinky dorms or your roommate is driving you nuts, you can always download Apartmentguide’s iPhone app which lets you search for thousands of apartments sorted by location, price and amenities conveniently from your iPhone or iPod touch.


The only application featured on this list that I currently own is Wurdle. I play it at least once a day and it is well worth the money. I chose it over Quordy which I have heard is equally fun and brain simulating. I was curious to see the reviews on the (Un) Official Shakespeare Audio Insulter app-how fun would that be? You could impress your professor during class or your colleagues at a party! Unfortunately the reviews are poor for the app that is featured in this article but there are two additional apps(iNsult: The Shakespearean Insult Generator and Shakespearean Insults) for Shakespearean insults that have better reviews. Neither app specifies if there is audio for the insults. I like the concept of the literary terms for on the go reference while studying in the library but I will not be purchasing this as I have a hard copy of a Bedford Glossary of Literary Terms that works just fine for me. I especially like the quiz applications for undergraduate survey courses-that could be very useful for broad knowledge purposes and to recall essential plot points and character references. I will definitely be picking up a grammar app  at some point after researching the ones featured on this list and whatever else is compiled in the app store in order to brush up on salient points to enhance my writing skills. However, at the moment, my most needed iPhone application is a Dictionary app so I can look up words while I am away from my laptop or Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

I think that there are some interesting suggestions on the featured  list but the versions of each type of application are virtually endless as new applications are reviewed and submitted to the app store on a daily basis. It is truly a matter of personal preference. I tend to go for the apps that have the highest reviews and integral features needed for my use, but perhaps others can be swayed by  merely comparing the screenshots provided in the app store preview. I will be doing a follow-up post with my own personal choices and why I chose them at a later date. What are your favorite applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch that would help you with a major or vested interest in English?


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