Writing Your Way to Fluency: 23 English Writing Apps Stephen King Would Totally Use
Do you need to improve your writing skills?
Do you want to become the next Stephen King?
As with many of life’s problems, “there’s an app for that.”
From apps that improve your grammar to ones that encourage you to write regularly, these English writing apps will make a huge difference in your writing skills.
- 3 Apps for Checking Your Writing
- 5 Apps to Boost Your Vocabulary
- 11 Apps to Help You Get Creative
- 4 Miscellaneous Writing Apps
- How to Use English Writing Apps
3 Apps for Checking Your Writing
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. There are some apps available that can help us check what we write in real-time.
This means you will know if something is incorrect as you write. It is a great opportunity to learn from your mistakes!
iA Writer (iOS | Android)
In a nutshell: A word processor in which simpler is better.
Best for: Anyone who needs a good spell checker and a distraction-free writing environment.
Price: $$. A two-week free trial is available.
- Syntax Control. The app will mark your writing with different colors depending on the part of speech of each word.
- Focus Mode. It focuses the view on the sentence or paragraph you are working with. The rest of the text becomes less visible to help you focus on what you are currently working on.
- Style Check. This option is only available for Mac and iOS users. It checks your writing and helps you get rid of repetitions, redundancies (unnecessary words) and clichés.
- Spellcheck. Never miss a spelling error again.
Grammarly Keyboard (iOS | Android)
In a nutshell: A built-in virtual keyboard that checks your writing as you go.
Best for: Any person who needs to write anything from one single sentence to a long essay.
Price: $$ per month. The basic version of the app is completely free, and you get a discount with quarterly and annual plans.
- Spelling and grammar checker. If you make a mistake, the keyboard will tell you. It can also autocorrect your errors.
- Smart prediction. The keyboard is smart enough to guess what you are trying to write.
- Writing assistance. You will get suggestions on unclear sentences, synonyms, too long sentences, etc.
Ginger Grammar Spellchecker (iOS | Android)
In a nutshell: A grammar and spelling checker with lots of extras for a one-time payment.
Best for: Learners of all levels. They recommend themselves especially to people with poor writing skills and dyslexics.
- Smart spellchecker. You will be able to correct all your mistakes in one click. You can ignore the corrections you do not want to change in your text.
- Rephrasing and synonyms. You will be given rephrasing and synonym suggestions whenever possible.
- Extras. The app also includes human voice text-to-speech, US/UK dialect option, a personal dictionary and machine translation of your writing into over 30 languages.
5 Apps to Boost Your Vocabulary
If you need to improve your vocabulary to write better, there are also plenty of options you can choose from.
Apps to boost your vocabulary come in many different forms and sizes. These are the most interesting ones.
Terminology Dictionary (iOS | Android not available)
In a nutshell: A dictionary, a thesaurus and a research tool in one.
Best for: Any learner of English who wants to improve their vocabulary but needs much more than just a dictionary.
Price: $ with in-app purchases.
- Off-line US dictionary. Use the dictionary offline and find simple definitions, synonyms, antonyms, collocations and more.
- Personalization. You can create your own list of favorite terms and add notes to them.
- Resource lookup. This feature allows you to look up words on Wikipedia, Google, Dictionary.com and other websites.
Reverse dictionary (iOS not available | Android)
In a nutshell: A twist on dictionaries to improve your vocabulary in a fun way.
Best for: Any learner who has a definition in their head but does not remember the specific word.
- Reverse search. If you are writing and do not know a word (or cannot remember it), but know its definition or some keywords related to it, just write what you know and the dictionary will give you a list of words that match what you are looking for.
- Definitions. Once you have all the different word suggestions, click on any of them and you will be given its complete definition.
- Quality. The definitions’ source is the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
English Idioms Illustrated (iOS | Android)
In a nutshell: A beautiful and fun way of learning English idioms.
Best for: Learners of English who want to improve their use of idioms in order to write more naturally.
Price: $. You can download the app for free and have the first 35 idioms right away, and the whole collection can be purchased for a one-time fee.
- Origin and meaning of idioms. You not only get what the idioms mean but also where they come from.
- Beautiful illustrations. The amazing illustrations will help you remember the idioms much faster.
- Free content. Start with 35 idioms for free.
Phrasal Verbs Machine (iOS | Android not available)
In a nutshell: A cute app to learn phrasal verbs in an entertaining way.
Best for: Intermediate and advanced learners who need to improve their mastery of phrasal verbs without breaking a sweat.
- Definitions. You will get over a hundred phrasal verbs with their definitions in English.
- Beautiful and user-friendly interface. The design is simply marvelous and very creative.
Rhyme Builder (iOS not available | Android)
In a nutshell: An app to find words that rhyme, perfect for writing poetry or lyrics in English.
Best for: People who need to find words that rhyme. Intermediate and advanced users will definitely make the most out of this app.
- Rhyme search. Look for words that rhyme with your words while you write in the app.
- Save your work. You can save your writing and have a look at it later.
- Simple look. The app is very simple, which makes it easy to use.
11 Apps to Help You Get Creative
Do you need some ideas to start getting more creative with your writing?
If you are the kind of person who loves a writing challenge and creative writing in general, you are going to love these apps.
The Brainstormer (iOS | Android)
In a nutshell: An idea and story generator for people who love a challenge.
Best for: Intermediate and advanced users of English who already have a good set of writing skills but want to practice creative writing.
Price: Free with in-app purchases. The app with the classic Brainstormer is free. You can buy additional content (Character builder, Creature builder, World builder, etc.) for a small fee each.
- Three wheels. Three wheels will spin to give you a conflict, a setting and a subject. The possibilities are practically infinite (go on forever).
- Creative thinking. The words in each wheel have been carefully selected to maximize creative thinking.
- Personalization. You can create and edit your own wheels.
Writing Roulette (iOS | Android not available)
In a nutshell: An app for people who need writing practice and inspiration.
Best for: Learners who are practicing their writing skills before an exam.
- Writing inspiration. Get an image and a writing task and let your imagination fly.
- Different writing tasks. From the classic 100-word exercises to haikus, you will have plenty of different ways of practicing your writing before an exam.
- Personalization. You can create your own tasks and complete them in the app notepad.
- Important: There is no “save” option in the app, so if you don’t want to lose what you write, just use the app to get the inspiration and do the exercises somewhere else.
Creative Writer (iOS | Android not available)
In a nutshell: Recycle already written texts to create your own.
Best for: Advanced users of English who want to become even better at writing.
Price: Free with in-app purchases and pro version for $. The app with all the basic features is free. For a small fee, you can download Dictionary PRO and the Writer’s Pack, as well as smaller packs like Recipes or Poetry.
- Different genres. The app includes texts from genres such as poetry, prose, dialogues, lyrics, romance and cooking, among others.
- Easy to use. If you do not feel like typing (which you can also do), just choose the tapping option.
- Dictionary PRO. This is an amazing tool to learn new words and use them in your writing. It includes definitions, rhymes, antonyms, synonyms and much more.
- Writer’s Pack. A powerful tool with writing ideas and millions of sentence segments analyzed.
- Other features. The app includes a cute robot that talks and types by itself and a beautifully designed notepad. Some features can even be used offline.
Brainsparker (iOS | Android to be launched)
In a nutshell: A deck of cards to inspire your brain to write.
Best for: Intermediate and advanced learners of English who need ideas for creative writing assignments.
Price: Free with in-app purchases for $. You can buy additional specialist card packs (like Blogger’s pack, Character’s pack, Quotes pack, Numbers pack or What if? pack) or a VIP pass that includes all the specialist packs available plus all future packs.
- Inspirational prompts. Over 250 prompt cards to make you think and write on many different topics.
- Free pack for kids. The app includes a free pack for kids (which is also great for adult learners!) with over 150 creative activities.
- Free Vision pack. Another free pack that includes 52 goal-setting questions.
Other prompt apps
There are literally thousands of prompt and creative writing apps available for mobile devices. It would be impossible to include them all in one post.
However, there are some others that are worth mentioning:
- Plot Generator: Get random story ideas and create your stories around them.
- Writerly: This is a magnificent app with hundreds of exercises to practice your writing skills. It also includes tips, quests and mini-essays.
- Paperblanks Journal Prompts: This app will give you writing and drawing prompts and ideas to use in your personal journals and sketchbooks.
- Daily Prompt: Get a new writing prompt every day on your phone. The premium version allows you to enter writing competitions and receive feedback for your work.
- Writing Prompts: With this awesome app, you will get five prompt generators (News, Scenes, Sketches, Words and Texts) with literally hundreds of ideas each.
- Morning Pages: This app helps you build the habit of writing 500 words every morning. I personally love the Insights feature, which analyzes your writing and tells you what mood you are in on a specific day according to what you write.
- Writing Challenge: If you like competing against the clock, you are going to love this app. Set the timer and the app will give you a new prompt every time the clock reaches zero (you decide the length of the intervals).
4 Miscellaneous Writing Apps
“Miscellaneous” is a category for things that do not quite fall under any other category. The apps below are difficult to categorize, so we put them together!
Have a look at the following four apps and give them a try if you are in the mood for something “different.”
Werdsmith (iOS | Android not available)
In a nutshell: A portable writing studio for professional writers.
Best for: Any person who wants to have their writing tools always with them.
Price: Free with the option to subscribe for $ per month. Members get more themes, novel and screenplay writing tools, hundreds of writing prompts and the possibility of using Werdsmith on their computer.
- Personalization. You can personalize your writing studio and change the theme and the formatting options.
- Save, sync and share. The app allows you to save your work and share it with your friends. You can also synchronize between devices—meaning that no matter where you do your writing, you will be able to access it from any other device—which makes the app totally portable.
- Goals and rituals. Create daily goals and rituals and challenge yourself to do them every day.
HelloTalk (iOS | Android)
In a nutshell: An app to learn English through conversation and writing.
Best for: Learners of English who want to find a language exchange partner.
Price: Free with in-app purchases. You can also become a VIP member to get benefits like learning three languages at the same time or finding more language partners.
- Multiple languages. The app has native users from over 150 different countries, so it will be very easy to find the perfect one for you.
- Improve your speaking skills. You will be able to talk to native speakers of English, which will allow you to boost your level in a fun and easy way.
- Chat. Practice your writing skills in the chat. This is the perfect way of getting grammar and spelling feedback from your language partners.
- Moments. Use the Moments feature to share, answer and ask questions related to the culture of the language you are learning.
LifeCharge (iOS | Android not available)
In a nutshell: A private journal with a twist.
Best for: Learners who want to have a reason for writing a little bit every day while they learn about themselves.
Price: Free with in-app purchases and the option to upgrade to Pro for $, which allows you to upload pictures.
- Ups and downs. Write your ups and downs every day and see how the battery changes according to the info you enter.
- Know yourself. You will be able to analyze your batteries and, by reading what you have written, learn more about yourself.
- Nice to the eyes. The interface is clean and user-friendly. You can also personalize it and add pictures and photos.
Instant Poetry 2 (iOS | Android not available)
In a nutshell: Magnetic fridge poetry on your phone.
Best for: Learners who want to play with words and create magnetic poetry (pun intended).
Price: Free with in-app purchases. You can buy additional word themes for special occasions (Sadness, Passionate and Pirate, among others).
- Personalization. You can use your own pictures as a background.
- Helping hand. The app will help you by giving you words that can be used together, but you are the creator of your own poems.
- Share. You can send your poems to your loved ones or just email them to whoever you want.
How to Use English Writing Apps
Writing is a very important skill that is often forgotten by English learners.
We tend to think speaking and listening comprehension are the two most important parts of a language to learn. But the truth is, you need all the major language skills—speaking, listening, reading and writing, along with vocabulary and grammar—in order to achieve fluency.
Learning to write better will actually increase your understanding of English and improve your skills in other aspects of the language.
So once you’ve chosen your awesome apps, how can you use them to actually improve your English writing skills?
Start by practicing regularly, every day if you can.
Here is how to make the most of the English writing apps in our list:
- Write every day. Even if it is only one sentence or 100 words, write every day. Author Tom Wolfe only wrote around 135 words a day!
- Learn grammar and vocabulary. You need words (vocabulary) and rules to use those words (grammar) when writing.
- Read a lot. One of the best ways to learn how to write is by reading. Over time, you will start recognizing structures, words and expressions that you can later use when you write.
- Listen to native speakers talk. Listening to native English not only helps you improve your pronunciation but also your writing. Writing is just speaking in silence. You can take what you hear from native speakers from English-language movies on streaming sites and use it in your writing. To hear natives in other types of videos, the FluentU English learning program has a variety of media clips available.
- Make the most out of these writing apps. This post includes a lot of apps you can use to improve your writing skills in different ways. Make sure you use every feature and let technology give you a hand!
So, there you go, friends.
These 23 apps will help you bring out your inner writer and improve your writing skills in ways you would never think were possible.
Writing is key when learning a language and the more you practice, the more you will improve your other language skills, as well.
Use these apps as a starting point. Choose the ones you like the most and try to use them on a daily basis.
Starting to write may be challenging (difficult) for some learners, but with patience and practice, everyone can become a master.
Stay curious my friends and, as always, happy writing!
English professor and freelance translator, Francisco J. Vare loves teaching and writing about grammar. He is a proud language nerd, and you will normally find him learning a new language, teaching students or just reading in a foreign language. He has been writing for FluentU for many years and is now a Staff Writer.