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I am trying to write a template for writing tests and homework for math classes in the familar format:
1) Given . . .
a) question . . .
b) question . . .
Here is what I have tried:

\documentclass[12pt]{amsart}%
\setcounter{errorcontextlines}{1000}
%
\begin{document}
%
\newcounter{probnum}
\newcounter{partnum}[probnum]
\newcommand\testquestion[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}\stepcounter{probnum}\theprobnum)\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}
\newcommand\testquestionpart[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}\stepcounter{partnum}\thepartnum)\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}% compiles
%\newcommand\testquestionpart[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}\stepcounter{partnum}\alph{\thepartnum)}\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}% error 1
%\newcommand\testquestionpart[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}\stepcounter{partnum}\alph{\value{\thepartnum}})\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}% error 2
%
\testquestion{2}{An investment of \$10,000 is made in a stock portfolio, which doubles in value after 7 years.
Using the equation for continuous compounding $ A = P e^{rt} $:}
\par\vspace*{10mm}
%
% Tests
\stepcounter{partnum}
\thepartnum
\stepcounter{partnum}
\thepartnum
\stepcounter{partnum}
\thepartnum\\
%\alph{\thepartnum}% error 1
%\alph{\value{\thepartnum}}% error 2
% End Tests
%
\testquestionpart{2}{At what rate is the investment growing?}
%
\end{document}  

This compiles, but gives
1) Given . . .
1) question . . .
Any attempt I have made to get the subquestion in alphabetic form throws errors.

Error 1 is:

! Missing number, treated as zero.  
<to be read again>  
                   \c@4)  
\@alph #1->\ifcase #1  
                     \or a\or b\or c\or d\or e\or f\or g\or h\or i\or j\or k...  

\testquestionpart ...partnum}\alph {\thepartnum )}  
                                                  \quad (#1 pts.)\quad  
#2\en...  
l.30 ...}{At what rate is the investment growing?}

Error 2 is:

! Missing \endcsname inserted.  
<to be read again>  
                   \c@4  
\alph #1->\expandafter \@alph \csname c@#1  
                                          \endcsname  
\testquestionpart ...\alph {\value {\thepartnum }}  
                                                  )\quad (#1 pts.)\quad #2\e...  
l.30 ...}{At what rate is the investment growing?}

Trying the code called "tests" suggests that the counter is working properly if not called within \testquestionpart.

I tried

\newcommand\testquestionpart[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}\stepcounter{partnum}\alph{partnum)}\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}

and got

! Missing number, treated as zero.
<to be read again>
                   \c@partnum)
\@alph #1->\ifcase #1
                     \or a\or b\or c\or d\or e\or f\or g\or h\or i\or j\or k...

\testquestionpart ...ter {partnum}\alph {partnum)}
                                                  \quad (#1 pts.)\quad #2\en...
l.30 ...}{At what rate is the investment growing?}

1 Answer 1

1

The proper syntax is \alph{partnum}, not \alph{\thepartnum}. I also show (in commented text) the use of \roman{partnum} or, in the style originally tried by the OP, \romannumeral\value{partnum}. This latter syntax is TeX, whereas the former two are LaTeX.

EDIT to implement solution into \testquestionpart.

\documentclass[12pt]{amsart}%
\setcounter{errorcontextlines}{1000}
%
\begin{document}
%
\newcounter{probnum}
\newcounter{partnum}[probnum]
\newcommand\testquestion[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}%
  \stepcounter{probnum}\theprobnum)\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}
\newcommand\testquestionpart[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}%
  \stepcounter{partnum}\alph{partnum})\quad%
  (#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}% compiles
%\newcommand\testquestionpart[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}\stepcounter{partnum}\alph{\thepartnum)}\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}% error 1
%\newcommand\testquestionpart[2]{\begin{minipage}[t]{\textwidth}\stepcounter{partnum}\alph{\value{\thepartnum}})\quad(#1 pts.)\quad#2\end{minipage}}% error 2
%
\testquestion{2}{An investment of \$10,000 is made in a stock 
portfolio, which doubles in value after 7 years.
Using the equation for continuous compounding $ A = P e^{rt} $:}
\par\vspace*{10mm}
%
% Tests
%\alph{partnum}% WORKS
%\romannumeral\value{partnum}% WORKS
%\roman{partnum}% WORKS
%\alph{\thepartnum}% error 1
%\alph{\value{\thepartnum}}% error 2
% End Tests
%
\testquestionpart{2}{At what rate is the investment growing?}

\testquestionpart{3}{Is this working?}
%
\end{document} 

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