If て form is used alone what can it mean? from what I've found on my own it can be a request similar to てください as well as a direct command, but are there other ways to use it alone besides to link two verbs together? The reason I ask this is I saw the phrase "おそくなって すみません". I know It says sorry I'm late due to the fact that おそくなって is the て form of to be late but I'm confused as to why the て form was used here.
Sorry if the answer is obvious here and thank you for any assistance