I found the following example of how one should be able to avoid numbering in theorems. However for me this is not working. Here is some code ( I wanted to test if the non numbering works for Propostion):








\newcommand{\R}{\mathbf{R}}  % The real numbers.



\title{Big doc}



I get the following error message:

! LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

So what is going wrong in my example?

  • 3
    \newtheorem*{prop*}{Proposition}, not \newtheorem*{prop*}[thm]{Proposition}.
    – GuM
    Jun 13, 2015 at 18:44
  • 2
    Welcome to TeX.SX! \newtheorem* does not take an optional argument. Jun 13, 2015 at 18:45
  • not relevant to the question, but, you don't have to load amsmath or amsfonts; they're already loaded by amsart. and amssymb should really be loaded only once. Jun 13, 2015 at 18:47
  • @GustavoMezzetti -- post answer, please. that's the right answer. Jun 13, 2015 at 18:49
  • @AndrewSwann -- the starred form of \newtheorem is defined by amsthm, which is built into amsart. Jun 13, 2015 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


It is well known that the *-form of the \newtheorem command does not take any optional argument. The following code illustrates the correct usage:

% Removed all irrelevant/superfluous/twice-loaded packages.



\title{Big doc}
\author{Some One}

    Some text.

Text above.
    This is the claim.
Text in the middle.
    A numbered theorem.
Text below.

The error occurs because TeX tries to typeset the optional argument as if it were text belonging to the document; but such text is not allowed before \begin{document}.

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