# Relationship between the first and the second quantum number

Does the secondary quantum number tell how many subshells a specific principal quantum number shell has?

E.g., if the principal quantum number is $n$, there are ($n-1$) subshells.

No, it does not. It is the principal quantum number $n$ which does it (as you actually mentioned yourself later in the question). The second quantum number $l$ describes the shape of the orbitals in a particular subshell. Say, $l=0$ for $\mathrm{s}$-subshell of any shell and all $\mathrm{s}$-orbitals have a spherical shape.
If the principal quantum number is $n$, there are $(n−1)$ subshells.
Why $(n−1)$? Think about the most trivial example: how many subshells the first shell ($n=1$) have? One, not zero, so $(n−1)$ is obviously wrong formula. The situation is in fact simpler: $n$-th shell has $n$ subshells.
• A small detail to add to Wildcat's excellent answer: the $\ell$ quantum number does not tell you the total number of subshells, but you may infer the minimum value of the principal quantum number $n$ and therefore the minimum number of subshells. For example, if $\ell=3$ then $n\ge 4$.