The market’s compound construction is such that two waves of a particular degree subdivide into eight waves of the next lower degree, and those eight waves subdivide in exactly the same manner into thirty-four waves of the next lower degree. The Wave Principle, then, reflects the fact that waves of any degree in any series always subdivide and re-subdivide into waves of lesser degree and simultaneously are components of waves of higher degree. Thus, we can use Figure 1-3 to illustrate two waves, eight waves or thirty-four waves, depending upon the degree to which we are referring.
Now observe that within the corrective pattern illustrated as wave  in Figure 1-3, waves (a) and (c), which point downward, are composed of five waves: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Similarly, wave (b), which points upward, is composed of three waves: a, b and c. This construction discloses a crucial point: that motive waves do not always point upward, and corrective waves do not always point downward. The mode of a wave is determined not by its absolute direction but primarily by its relative direction. Aside from four specific exceptions, which will be discussed later in this course, waves divide in motive mode (five waves) when trending in the same direction as the wave of one larger degree of which it is a part, and in corrective mode (three waves or a variation) when trending in the opposite direction. Waves (a) and (c) are motive, trending in the same direction as wave . Wave (b) is corrective because it corrects wave (a) and is countertrend to wave . In summary, the essential underlying tendency of the Wave Principle is that action in the same direction as the one larger trend develops in five waves, while reaction against the one larger trend develops in three waves, at all degrees of trend.
*Note: For this course, all Primary degree numbers and letters normally denoted by circles are shown with brackets.
The phenomena of form, degree and relative direction are carried one step further in Figure 1-4. This illustration reflects the general principle that in any market cycle, waves will subdivide as shown in the following table.