There are several classes of motions that may be encountered in meetings, listed below. The most commonly used motions belong to the 13 ranking motions.
The main motion is the basis of all parliamentary procedure. All business to be considered by an assembly is introduced by a main motion. This type of motion may only be considered if no other business is pending.
Subsidiary motions may be applied to another motion for the purpose of modifying it, delaying action on it, or disposing of it.
Privileged motions are unrelated to the current motion, but are of such urgency or importance they are considered immediately. These motions are related to members, the organization, and meeting procedure rather than the item of business being considered.
Incidental motions are related to, or incidental to, the business being considered, but do not directly modify the pending motion.
Motions that bring a question again before the assembly, or bring-back motions, are a special type of main motion that permits the assembly to consider previously disposed of business.
Thirteen ranking motions
The main motion, subsidiary motions, and privileged motions all have rank relative to one another. The table below illustrates the motions’ rank and basic characteristics.
To review the procedure for handling a motion, see Parliamentary Basics — Presiding.