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How Many Waves In Elliott Wave Theory?

The question is how many Elliott waves in Elliott wave theory?  It may seem like a trivial question, but it has its merits.

In this article, I will try my best to add more understanding to the Elliott waves and theory.  I hope both beginners and more advanced wave traders will learn something from it.  Believe it or not this is one of the frequent questions that keep popping up in Google search.
Alright, let's get into it.

Types Of Elliott Waves

There are two types of Elliott waves: impulse wave and corrective waves.
That is it. 

Stay with me please because I will be going a little bit deeper. 

Really, the Elliott wave principle is like an open door that leads to another door (truth or principle).  So far, most Elliott wave traders and analysts have only scratched the surface of the gold mine gift that Ralph Elliott has given the financial analysis world.  As one reaches the next door, one must keep knocking it until it is open.  When that door opens, it will lead to another door and the process continues. 

Remember this: the wave principle is a fractal principle because each wave principle can be broken down into mini principles that are hidden to the ordinary wave practitioners.  Even each mini Elliott wave principle can be subdivided into other mini mini principles. 

In your own time after you have finished to digest this article, feel free to read my article about Y-wave.

Is it is too much for you already?  Please do not dismiss too quickly what I am shouting about here.  Stay with me a little bit more.

So everyone know that there are two types of waves.  Right?  How come some can not count waves accurately?  Why wave traders do disagree with each other on many occasions? 

The truth is because there are two types of Elliott wave analysts.  The ordinary and others that I call eagle-eye analysts.  The difference is the later group knows that one principle can lead to another principle, and a principle is fractal.

An open door leads to the next, and one knocks it until the next door opens and the process continues.  Every one is given two feet, two hands, one torso, one head and an identical spirit, but still some do fail badly in why they are here on earth.  Alright, you get it. 

What Is Impulse Wave?

An impulse wave is a directional or motor wave.  Both impulse and corrective waves have their own impulse waves.  For example A and C minor waves of the zigzag corrective wave are the impulse waves of the zigzag correction.  Did I warn you that I will be going a little be deeper and deeper until the genie in you jumps up? 

Now I have a question.  What are the impulse waves of the flat correction?
Many will say A and C minor waves.  Right?
I disagree but I am not saying that they are completely wrong.  Have I heard you asking why? 

The real impulse wave of the flat correction is the C minor wave.  Have you gotten it correctly?  Well you can clap for yourself. 
I will give you the key to the second door in this instance.  And here it is.

"All horizontal or flat price structures are non directional, therefore are not impulsive."  My name is George Beaulieu, feel free to quote me everywhere you like.
So I said that corrective waves have their own impulse waves though they are not impulse wave themselves. 

"A non directional price structure is usually a balanced structure."  Therefore, all consolidations and triangles are non directional.  The ABCDE corrective wave has no impulse wave on its own contrary to the zigzag and flat corrections.  The A and B minor waves of the flat correction form a balanced price structure, that is why the A minor wave is not a valid impulse wave of the flat correction. 

Now that you are up for it, I want you to reset yourself with that new realisation.

Structure Of Impulse Wave

Count your fingers please.  Go ahead please.  

Usually, people start with their thumb as one, but that is incorrect.  The first finger is that little one next to your wedding ring finger.  The fifth one is the thumb.  I believe GOD is the father of the wave principle.  Alright, you are not sure about that.  Okay!

Ralph Elliott who compiled the Elliott principle has tapped into one of the mysteries of GOD.  These things sometimes give me sleepless nights.  The more I try to understand them the more (knocking that door) I realise that we are not just flesh and blood.  

Who are we?  That is the question.  Alright let's get back to the main topic.

Each impulse wave has five mini waves.  An impulse wave is like one hand with five fingers.  The first, third and fifth minor waves are mini impulse waves on their own.  So it is like saying that the first, third and fifth fingers are mini hands on their own. 

Notice that though the zigzag's A minor wave is subdivided into five mini mirror waves, the flat correction's A minor wave is only subdivided into three.  However, the flat correction's C minor wave is subdivided into five minor waves that it (C minor wave) an impulse wave.

Generally, five refers to an impulse wave because all impulse wave has five minor waves among which three are impulsive and two non directional (corrective waves).
The second and fourth waves are corrective waves.  So an impulse wave always has three impulse minor waves and two corrective minor waves.
Consequently, the structure of an impulse is
(5, 3, 5, 3, 5).  Here 5 represents an impulse wave and three the corrective waves. 

Do not worry.  If you have any questions, just post it at 24Elliottwaves YouTube channel and be patient.  I always read all comments.  In due course, I may write another article or post a relevant video.
No rush please.  Sometimes, traders think, I have forgotten; may be, but I note everything down.

Just for fun.  What is the longest finger?
That is correct.  It is the middle finger.
Well, according to the Elliott wave rules, the third Elliott wave should not be the shortest impulse wave (in comparison to 1st and 3rd waves).  Usually (not always), the third wave is the longest impulse wave like the middle finger of a hand.

By the way have you ever heard someone saying:  this is getting a bit out hand?

Something that is getting out of hand is that which is getting a bit tricky to control, manage or handle.  Similarly, when the trend is in the fifth wave is a little bit like getting out of hand, therefore a correction is needed. 

The last wave of all impulse wave is the fifth wave.  Even mini mini mini mini impulse wave ends in fifth wave.

All impulse wave are followed by a corrective wave.
Something that is getting out of hand must be addressed or corrected.  Right? 
I am not sure if you are ready for all that I am sharing here or not.
May be you are.  Just take it one step at time and you will be alright.

Take a look at your thumb please.  Go ahead please.  

As I said before, it is the fifth finger.  Right?  Does it seem like the one that is out of hand or separated from the other four fingers?
Well, I am just trying to understand more or wondering.

As you can see, though the question about how many waves in Elliott wave theory seems trivial at face value, it opens a door that leads to another door that I knock and oops that also leads to another door.
Now, you understand why those questions and the willingness to understand more often give me sleepless nights.

What I have found is when the SP-500 is in the monthly fifth wave, one must pray so that God protects and have mercy on us the stupids.
Recently, I wonder if there is a correlation between the monthly SP 500 fifth wave and all the events that cause the recent markets decline in 2020.
Just wondering.

What Is Corrective Wave?

A corrective corrects an impulse wave.
As I have stated earlier, a corrective wave has its own internal impulse waves unless it completely non directional or balanced.
As an Elliott wave trader, one will be dealing with the Elliott wave triangles (ABCDE pattern), zigzag pattern, flat corrective wave, WXY corrective wave and more complex corrective waves.

During the motive wave or any extended impulse wave, there is often an alternance between the second and fourth waves.  That is an essential Elliott wave guide.
The fractal structure of the second wave helps to forecast the corrective phase after a motive wave. 

Apart from the regular corrective waves, there is also a sharp correction.  Though sharp correction are often news driven or unpredictable, the ending diagonal fifth wave often helps to predict them.  A correction can be swift or prolonged. 

To come on top of the corrective waves, one has to really study them one by one without cutting corners (Knowledge, practice, experience and skills over time.)

Corrective Wave Structures

In general, most corrective waves have three components.  Therefore, the number 3 represents a correction.  The flat correction structure is (3, 3, 5),
zigzag is (5, 3, 5)
and ABCDE is (3, 3, 3, 3, 3).

Alright, that is it.  If you have any specific questions or comments, please post onto the 24Elliottwaves YouTube channel and in due course I will answer you or post an educational video.


There two Elliott waves: impulse and corrective waves.  The earlier is directional but the latter is balanced or non directional.  Both waves' structures help to forecast the financial markets.  An Elliott trader who masters the wave structures is not an ordinary market player.  One must always use the wave structures with other technical trading strategies such as the market geometry, Fibonacci and others.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and it has been useful.  If that is correct, please share and bookmark it.  Also, please say few good words about us in various trading forums.

I wish you the very best.
Happy Trading To All

This article is written by G Beaulieu
Founder Of

This is about how many waves in Elliott wave theory.