Cups corresponding element is water. This card represents a persons emotions whether good bad or indifferent. In some circumstances, cups could indicate a spiritual situation that emotions play a role in.
In its negative state, cups signifies hurt feelings and negative emotions that oppress a person.
The element of swords is air. As with air, it could be the intellect of the person in the situation, or it could be intellect of an oppressor in a dangerous situation. Many people in power are intelligent; though seldom use the intelligence to aid others. One could also see it as a sign of communication or communication issues.
In its negative state, swords could represent one going against another that is sly and intelligent.
Coins also considered pentacles, corresponds with the element of Earth. The earth holds in it great wealth. Whether people farm the land having physical money or simply live on it, there is wealth. The earth also affords stability in the physical world.
In its negative state, coins may represent one with little money or little stability creating financial issues.
Wands also called staff corresponds with the element of fire though some believe it is earth. The fire correspondence gives way to force in the early stages of the development of an idea.
In its negative state, wands may represent the development of an idea yet not enough inspiration or fortitude to continue past that stage