Assume that we have an electrical circuit including two keys and a CPU. When the two keys are open the CPU switches to which of the following statements:

two-key open mode


two open keys mode

Moreover, can we use "status" instead of "mode"? Can we also use "opened" instead of "open"?

1 Answer 1


I would suggest two-key-open mode. This is because "two keys being open" is a single descriptive modifier to mode. "Two-key open mode" sounds like a specific kind of "open mode", which isn't right. "Two open keys mode" is understandable but isn't how we usually use nouns as modifiers in English; for example, we say two-car garage, not "two cars garage".

Open is better than opened because open is simply the state of the keys, and opened puts the emphasis on an action that has occurred.

It's hard to say whether status is better than mode without knowing more about the system, but I suspect that mode is better. Mode means something like "a way of doing something", whereas status means something more like "condition" or "state". For example, a computer's status could be "removed in preparation for disposal", but that's not really a mode, since it isn't doing anything!

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