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If you find that an author has summed up in a particularly cogent way, you may prefer to quote their words directly. When you quote a person, put their words in quotation marks (' ').
Halliday (1978, p.1) claims that 'A child creates, first his child tongue, then his mother tongue, in interaction with that little coterie of people who constitute his meaning group'.
Quotations should be brief. You should do most of the work of explaining an idea in your own words and use a quotation simply to back up what you've said. If you are studying literature, then you may need to quote words or phrases from the poem or passage you are analysing or discussing. Whatever your reason for using quotations, there are various rules that you must follow.
A note on plagiarism: using quotations is not the same as plagiarism. Plagiarism is borrowing too heavily from someone else's work and failing to acknowledge the debt, giving the impression that you are passing their work off as your own.
Universities have sophisticated software that helps them detect when an assignment contains information that has been copied from somewhere else without acknowledgement. For this reason it is very important that you learn the referencing format your module adopts.
When you make notes during your module, make sure that you record the source of any good quotes you come across.