9 Great Apps for Any English Major

Reading. Writing. Researching. Revising. Studying. Discussing. These are just a few of the many things that a good English major is expected to do. The workload might seem overwhelming at times. Luckily, a number of different apps exist to help you out along the way.

From writing apps to dictionaries and even publishing tools, a huge variety of Mac apps can definitely find a helpful home in every English Major’s hard drive. This list contains a few of what I consider to be the most helpful apps for an English major.

WordBook

First up on our list, a good dictionary is an important thing to have – but of course it is quite rare to own a physical dictionary these days. WordBook is a fantastic, digital alternative. The entire dictionary is offline, so as long as you have access to your computer, you have access to a dictionary and thesaurus with over 150,000 entries and more than 220,000 definitions. Each entry has a professional pronunciation and IPA notations. Many entries also feature a brief etymology, in case you are curious about the roots of the word. A unique dictionary feature is the ability to create lists of your favorite words. It’s a great, cheap dictionary with access to quality definitions and features.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Transcreative LLC

Rhyme Finder

If you find yourself writing a lot of poetry or other work which requires rhyming words, you might just need a rhyming dictionary. Rhyme Finder features a searchable, offline database of over 50,000 words with potential rhymes. You can filter your search results by rhyme strength or syllable count to get the most accurate and useful results. Rhyme Finder even includes dictionary definitions now, as an added bonus. It’s a cheap and easy to use app – definitely worth the investment for any rhymers out there.

Price: $1.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Robert Parker

iBooks Author

Let your creativity shine with the next app on the list – iBooks Author. If you wish to publish a digital book to the iBookstore, this app allows you to easily do so. Utilize the application to add text and images to a variety of pre-made templates or customize a unique layout of your own. You can add multi-touch features and easily export the book to preview on your own iPad. If you wish to publish a book on your own and are willing to deal with the occasional hassles of the iBookstore and Apple, iBooks Author is a great app to get you started on your path towards becoming a published author. It’s as easy to use as Pages (another great app you should have if you need a word processor), but lets you make interactive eBooks unlike any plain text eBook you’ve ever seen.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later
Developer: Apple

Scribe

Outlines are an important part of the college experience. You might take notes in an outline format or simply need to outline your next paper. No matter the occasion, Scribe is the answer to your outlining needs. Scribe boasts the ability to collapse/expand text, reorganize, and easily change the overall format. You can minimize menus and work in full screen for greater concentration, always a welcome feature. My favorite feature, however, is the ability to record and sync audio with the text. It’s a great feature if you utilize Scribe to take notes in class, as you can easily play back parts of the lecture while you glance over your notes.

Price: $5.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Peppered Software

Typist

English majors might do a lot of reading, but you also have to do a great deal of writing. Quick typing skills are vital in order to cut down on the amount of time that it takes you to pound out your latest story or paper. Typist is a simple and free solution to any typing problems, allowing easily learn or brush up on some touch typing skills. The lessons are short and simple, so dedicating just a few minutes a day to Typist can really help to improve your typing skills over time.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Takeshi Ogihara

Librarian Pro

As you take more and more English classes, which sometimes require 10 or more books per class, your collection of books can easily get out of hand. That means a new need to better organize them. Librarian Pro is a personal inventory which allows you to enter items into your personal database. You can look items up on Amazon to easily save detailed product information. The other great part is the ability to keep track of where the books are – whether it’s simply the location in which a book is stored or tracking whether you have lent a book out or not. Librarian Pro ensures you can keep track of all those books you acquire over your four years in school.

Price: $19.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Koingo Software, Inc.

OmmWriter

Sometimes you just need to sit down and really concentrate on your writing. OmmWriter is the perfect app to help you do so. Ommwriter works to minimize all distractions, allowing you to focus solely on your writing. The interface runs full screen and is very minimal. The few available options allow you to change basic settings like the ambient sounds in the background and the font size. The options fade away as you begin typing, however, continuing the minimalist aesthetic. It’s definitely a great app if you need to focus solely on the writing project at hand.

Price: $1.99 (currently 60% off)
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Herraiz Soto & Co.

iHomework

This next app is one that I made great use of during my time as a college student. iHomework is great for any apple product loving student, with apps available for the iPhone/iPod Touch, iPad and Mac. iHomework allows you to keep track of homework assignments, great for any English major with a ton of readings and papers to keep track of. You can also keep track of your class schedule, teacher information and any other reminders you might need. iHomework is a great way to make sure that you never miss an assignment.

Price: $0.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Paul Pilone

Celtx

Celtx is a complete pre-production software suite, but the desktop software is really what we are looking at today. The desktop application available is geared for a writer who produces primarily screenplays, although tools are included for stageplays, comic books, novels, AV scripts, audio plays and more. Anyone who regularly writes in a script format should definitely consider downloading Celtx, a freeware program with the option to upgrade to a paid version. The script you write is automatically formatted to industry standards, eliminating the hassle of attempting to write a script in Pages or Microsoft Word. You can also take advantage of visualization tools, like the storyboard, utilize the productivity tools such as call sheets and shot lists and sync amongst the cloud and their suite of mobile applications. Aspiring screen and stage writers should definitely download this app for use with class and personal work.

Price: Free, $14.99 Celtx Plus available
Developer: Celtx

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many apps available to help English majors, and college students in general. Whether you are working on a screenplay for class, need to practice your typing skills or just want to look up a word, there is an app in this list for you. They are all well designed and generally fairly priced. If you can put the app to use, you should definitely download it.

I’m always curious to know what you would add to the list. What is your must have Mac app that’s perfect for an English major? Are there any apps on the list you love or are particularly excited to try out? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


  • kassim

    no love for scrivener?

    • Jack

      I too was surprised at no mention of this, especially given AppStorm’s apparent worship of the application

    • StephenESC

      Was thinking the same thing.
      Scrivener is pretty sweet.

  • Clasqm

    Papers, from mekentosj.com. Indispensable for anyone within a mile of a college campus.

  • Owen Andrews

    iStudiez?

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