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I have a blog page setup to list posts. The "Read More" link is added by

  global $more;
  $more = 0; 

  the_content('<a href="#" class="button">Read More</a>'); ?>

How do i add the_permalink in where the "#" is without breaking the php?

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This use of the_content() is not very clean : only the link text should be specified here, without HTML tags. WP might remove the <a> tags. Could you check what outputs exactly in the source code ? Also, the "Read More" link may be handled by javascript in your theme (it's the only reason I see to put a # as the link source), be sure to check this as well. – Fabien Quatravaux Jul 1 '13 at 2:45

Use get_permalink. Otherwise this is basically a PHP string concatenation question.

the_content('<a href="'.get_permalink().'" class="button">Read More</a>');
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