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Why wasn't it just [駅を降りたら、どこからともなく美味しそうないい匂いがきた。] without adding して? What is the role of して in the sentence?

  1. that して is supposed to be the 'te' form of 'suru' verb right? What is the closest English meaning of that して in the sentence?
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Do not think of して, the 文法 is 「してくる」 and it implies that something gradually becomes. Like you smell from far away, and it gets stronger

You will also come across many other 「v.-てくる」 examples, but the meaning can vary

たべてくる = to eat before having come 言ってくる = to go and say something (and then come back) やってくる = to go and complete some task ⇐ this could also be してくる

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  • what i understood from japanese.stackexchange.com/q/2289/9831 / japanese.stackexchange.com/q/17850/9831 – is that きた in my sentence is used purely as the verb くる and not as a 'grammatical expression' as you thankfully proposed. So in my sentence 'the smell came きた!' but 'we don't know from where it came'.
    – raruna
    Jul 24 '20 at 14:52
  • So the verb here would effectively be 匂いがする、or "to (have a) smell", The verb is not 匂う, which would be referring to the speakers olfactory ability to perceive the scent. i.e. I can smell it
    – Reed Day
    Jul 24 '20 at 17:55
  • My bad! I thought that 匂い is the subject and する is the verb, but it looks like the whole is treated as one verb. I think what you proposed about きた makes sense now.
    – raruna
    Jul 24 '20 at 18:37

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