Curious about the different contexts of まる

So I’m level three and I’m just curious about the contexts of the general word “round”. I understand the way in which they’re different (thanks wanikani) but some of the context sentences don’t really seem to clear it up for me.

Noun - 丸 circle
Adjective - 丸い round, spherical, circular
Adjective - 円い round, circular

The thing is the context sentences make it hard to differentiate when I should use 丸い or 円い.


丸い as noted, is spherical. So a ball is 丸い.

円い is circular. A plate or a coin is 円い.

EDIT: Though I guess this doesn’t really answer your question, but maybe if you talked about what you don’t understand in the context sentences we could address those.


This one should be easy to remember because the kanji also means yen


And I see that 円い月 is one of the examples. Perhaps this is confusing because we know the moon’s true shape is spherical. Well, that’s just one of those things. With the full moon specifically they write 円い.

Here’s a list of more examples for each.

Maybe it becomes clearer if you just think about what 円い means here. The moon is always 丸い in reality, but it’s only 円い when it’s full, so you see a circular shape.


I get it now. Thanks everyone.

I just need to think about each word in context to its part of speech. Remembering that 丸 is a noun, 丸い is a round, spherical adjective, and 円い is a flat, round/circular adjective should help me keep things in order!


3D vs 2D adjectives


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