PETER: Hey! That car just ran a red light and hit that truck!
GAIL: Is anyone hurt?
PETER: I don’t know … let’s call 911. … Hello? I’d like to report a car accident near the post office on Charles Street. It looks like a man is hurt. Yes, it just happened. OK, thanks. Bye.
GAIL: What did they say?
PETER: They’re going to send an ambulance and a police car right away.
GAIL: Good, they’re here. I hope the man is OK.
PETER: I know. You have to be so careful when you’re driving.
• Hey! This expression is used to show surprise. Notice how That car just ran a red light and hit that truck! is said with a lot of energy.
• Is anyone hurt? This is a yes/no question, so the intonation rises at the end. Notice how this question is asked in a worried way.
• 911 is the phone number you dial for emergency services. The person who answers will ask you questions about the emergency situation and then send out the necessary emergency services, which may include police officers, firefighters and an ambulance.
• I’d like to report a car accident near the post office on Charles Street. Notice how the key words “car accident,” “post office” and “Charles Street” are stressed. These are the important details that the emergency services need.
• It just happened is a way of saying “It happened a moment ago.” Notice the stress on “just,” which emphasizes that the accident happened very, very recently.
• What did they say? Notice how “say” is emphasized, but the intonation falls at the end
of the word. This is a “what” question, so the intonation falls at the end.