How would I explain the following phrase/expression to an ESL learner?
"Keep those cards and letters rolling in"
I actually don't know where this comes from, or what it exactly means.
Any help is appreciated!
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It comes from radio shows where they read postcards and letters sent in to the show from listeners. Without new listener material there would be either more work for the producer to do in order to fill the radio slot, or they might not have a show at all to put on if the listener material was questions regarding a general topic such as, say, home repair or relationship advice.
In the phrase "Keep those cards and letters rolling in", 'rolling in' is a phrasal verb form meaning 'accumulating steadily and abundantly; coming in or arriving in large numbers, continuously or in rapid succession; pouring in' (paraphrased from the OED). The phrasal verb form is documented in the wild as early as 1696:
M. Pix Spanish Wives iii. ii. 37, I cannot but think how bravely I shall maintain thee. Girl; for Mony comes rowling in.
In contemporary use, the sense has scarcely changed, if at all:
2004 BBC Good Food Oct. 146/1 For the night the presidential election results start rolling in.