What is meant in this grammar:

Grammar: He uses the verb volitional form + になった

Context: In a graded reader "Run ! Melos" (走れメロス). The main character is running to his death, literally he has to be in time for his execution or else his friend will die, and as such he is sad .


途中で何度か足が止まりそうになった。「えい, えい」と大きな声を出して、自分を叱りながら走った。

Now in the sentence does volitional verb X +になった mean:

  1. His feet almost stopped - he was intending to do X but didnt
  2. His feet ended up being stopped - his intention X happened

This is not the volitional form, as @lélecteur pointed out. The meaning of the sentence is not about intention to stop.

(It may help you to know, or remember, that the そう suffix means something seems or appears like something. Some explanations on its use: here, here.)

そうになる is a formula meaning something almost happened.

足が止まりそうになった means that it seemed his legs would stop, his legs came very close to stopping.

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