Phraseology by Agile Tortoise icon

Phraseology ($1.99) by Agile Tortoise is a writing app that is part text editor and part word processor.

The iPad makes a great writing tool when you don’t have access to a computer, which is great. However, there seems to be so many writing apps available now that it ends up being hard to choose the right one, since many of them are the same thing. Now there’s a new entry into the space, and it offers a more enjoyable environment for writing and being productive – meet Phraseology.

Phraseology by Agile Tortoise screenshot

The interface for Phraseology is very clean and simple. If you have used Agile Tortoise’s other app, Terminology, then you should already be familiar with the layout. Most of the screen will be the editing area, with a thin sidebar that gives you several options: Documents, Arrange, Inspect, Font, Markdown, Export/Share, and Print.

To start a new document, you will need to tap on the Documents option and tap on the + button. Other options under Documents include viewing a list of current documents as well as an archive (documents can be archived or deleted permanently). With a new document, you are able to give it a name in the top bar, and then tap anywhere in the editing field to start writing.

For the most part, writing in Phraseology is just like writing in any other app. If you are also comfortable with Markdown syntax, Phraseology supports it. Whenever you want to preview your Markdown, just tap on the md button and you’ll get a live preview. While you write, you also have a live word count that shows up in the top right corner. However, there are some bonus features that make Phraseology stand out from the rest.

First, there is the Arrange feature. This allows you to rearrange lines of text and even line breaks in your document with a simple drag-n-drop interface (it even shows the word and character count for each line). You can even delete them if necessary. Quite frankly, this is much better than copy and pasting lines, so it’s definitely a welcome feature.

Secondly, there’s the Inspect tool. This allows the writer to see various stats, such as: counts for characters, words, root words, and sentences. There’s also more technical stuff like Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease, Grade Level, Gunning Fog Score, and SMOG Index. If you understood any of those, then this would be a great fit for your writing toolkit.

Additionally, the Inspect feature also shows you Parts of Speech, with a count for each type of word. Tapping on a select part of speech will show you the specific words and even their occurrences throughout the document. It’s a very useful feature that can help you clean up your writing while you work – who doesn’t want that?

The other major feature of Phraseology is the tight integration with Terminology. Since both apps are the creations of Agile Tortoise, this makes perfect sense. If you have Terminology installed on your iPad, you can lookup and browse for replacement words without disrupting your focus.

Phraseology by Agile Tortoise screenshot

If you decide that the default font and size do not work for you, then you are free to customize it to your liking. The app includes several very popular fonts, and you can increase or decrease the size as you see fit.

Once you’re done with the document, you can share it on Twitter, send it by email, or make a copy of it. If you have another writing app installed, like iA Writer, you can export it. The option to print is there too, if you have a setup that will allow you to print wirelessly (AirPrint or another workaround). Currently, there is no iCloud or Dropbox syncing/backup in Phraseology, which is a major letdown. However, the developers should be including these in a future version of the app, which will make it perfect.

I found Phraseology to be a pleasant app to use for writing, and I love the integration with Terminology, which is a fine dictionary and thesaurus app. The Arrange feature is highly useful, as well as the Inspect feature. I hope that the developers work on Dropbox and iCloud integration soon, because that would be the icing on the cake.

The app is currently on sale for $1.99 for a limited time, so I would recommend grabbing this one before the price goes up.