Is there a clear difference between 剧本 and 脚本? I know that 剧本 can also be the more formal “screenplay”。 But beyond that I'm not sure if there is a difference

  • literally 剧本 is a play or playbook while 脚本 is script
    – xenophōn
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 11:37

1 Answer 1


剧本 and 脚本 are different.

剧本 is just like a novel, telling the actors and directors what the story is.

脚本 includes more detailed and technical information of every section or frame such as shot lengths, scene lens, mapping, background music and so on. When you get 脚本, you'll feel like watching an edited film. 脚本 are mostly for directors and camera operators during the film shooting and the film cutters in later period edit.

In animated movies, 剧本 and 脚本 are nearly the same. And mostly we use 脚本.

As Wang Dingwei mentioned, 脚本 means SCRIPT in computer programming. BASH, Python, Ruby, Nuva are all scripting languages.

  • Same question, could you clarify which of the two are used more? You think 脚本 is used more often than 剧本?
    – Stephen
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 11:14
  • 1
    @Stephen That depends on the specific situation. 剧本 is used more often in our daily lives because most of us are not professional editors. While in professional edit work (and of course in programming), 脚本 is used more often. If your "MORE OFTEN" generally means the frequency, 剧本 is the winner.
    – Minnie
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 11:25
  • Good one. I wasn't aware of the fine differences. Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 13:34

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