There are two types of waves: impulse and corrective.

- Impulse waves move in the direction of the larger degree wave. When the larger degree wave is up, advancing waves are impulsive and declining waves are corrective. When the larger degree wave is down, impulse waves are down and corrective waves are up. Impulse waves, also called motive waves, move with the bigger trend or larger degree wave.
- Corrective waves move against the larger degree wave.

The chart above shows a rising 5-wave sequence. The entire wave is up as it moves from the lower left to the upper right of the chart. Waves 1, 3 and 5 are impulse waves because they move with the trend. Waves 2 and 4 are corrective waves because they move against this bigger trend. A basic impulse advance forms a 5-wave sequence.

A basic corrective wave forms with three waves, typically a, b and c. The chart below shows an abc corrective sequence

Notice that waves and c are impulse waves (green). This is because they are in the direction of the larger degree wave. This entire move is clearly down, which represents the larger degree wave. Waves and c move with the larger degree wave and are therefore impulse waves. Wave b, on the other hand, moves against the larger degree wave and is a corrective wave (red).

Combining a basic 5 wave impulse sequence with a basic 3 wave corrective sequence yields a complete Elliott Wave sequence, which is a total of 8 waves.

The abc corrective phase represents a correction of the larger impulse phase.

These 8-wave charts show two larger degree waves (I and II) as well as the lesser degree waves within these larger degree waves. Waves 1-2-3-4-5 are one lesser degree than Wave I. By extension, Wave I is one larger degree than Waves 1-2-3-4-5. Wave’s a-b-c is one lesser degree than Wave II.

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