Franklin's Autobiography Important Lessons in Tone, Syntax, and Persona Academic Article uri icon


  • Having students read selected portions of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography provides unique and effective material for supplementing instruction in style and control of tone. Franklin's writing exemplifies the major style characteristics taught in technical writing: active voice, conciseness, common words, concrete language, sentences structured by clauses rather than phrases. The work clearly shows that good technical style is not an isolated type of writing, but a powerful means of controlling tone and meaning. Students can be shown that by skillfully using syntax and diction and by carefully selecting content, Franklin shrewdly and effectively achieved his goal in writing the Autobiography a precisely drawn image of himself for posterity.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Technical Writing and Communication

author list (cited authors)

  • Tebeaux, E.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Tebeaux, Elizabeth

publication date

  • October 1981