I want to say that "when I press number 2 and 3 in the keypad of the mobile phone, the lights of keys with respect to those numbers are on". Is there a better way to express the lights of the keys are on? Maybe using a verb is better?

  • I would have just ended it as "... the lights of those keys are on" but that is more of a style issue. Why did you think it was wrong
    – mdewey
    Oct 6, 2022 at 14:36

3 Answers 3


Light up can mean this (among other things).

When I press number 2 and 3 in the keypad of the mobile phone, those keys light up.

  • 1
    Many people might just say 'When I press 1 and 3 on the keypad, they light up'. Oct 6, 2022 at 14:49
  • @LawrenceC: I got it. Thank you so much My friend!
    – Dada
    Oct 7, 2022 at 1:03
  • @MichaelHarvey: Thans a lot, Michael. It helps a lot and I will remember this expression.
    – Dada
    Oct 7, 2022 at 1:04

You could say "the buttons become illuminated". This is a more formal way to express it than in LawrenceC's answer. The kind of wording you'd expect to read in a manual or textbook.

  • Got it. Illuminated sounds good and I will use it similar scenarios. Thank you very much, my friend!!
    – Dada
    Oct 7, 2022 at 2:25

Another, related, word is "backlight". That word means the light behind a key, a keyboard, a screen, etc. which has lighting behind it.

Backlight can also be a verb, and there is a past participle, "backlit".

  • The screen is backlit
  • The later gameboys have a backlit screen
  • A keyboard with a dimmable RGB backlight

I have not heard of individual keys being backlit, but I suppose it could happen.

Backlighting is also sometimes used in photography, examining inside eggs, etc.

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