One of my posts has the following content:

This is a test post. Nothing more,
nothing less.
Three lines before the jump
And a couple of more lines
after the jump.

Note: these were written as you see them, in the WP editor, using the HTML tab - so we have no hidden <br> or anything else going on in the post content.

Also: No Manual Excerpt was defined for this post.

If I use the_content(), I get this:

<p>This is a test post. Nothing more,<br /> 
nothing less.<br /> 
Three lines before the jump</p> 
<p><a href="...#more-1336" class="more-link" title="Continue Reading">&raquo;</a></p> 

If, however, I use echo get_the_excerpt(); I get this:

This is a test post. Nothing more, nothing less. Three lines before the jump

No <p>s, nor <br />s (heck, not even the [...] I was half-expecting!)

What I'd really like to achieve in my theme is (within The Loop, of course):

  1. If a manual excerpt exists: display that (and I know I'll have to tweak the [...])
  2. Else, display the content, respecting any <!--more--> you may find.

So, I was starting with this

$excerpt = get_the_excerpt();
if($excerpt=='') { //right, isset or empty may be better
} else {
    echo $excerpt;

But I'm getting the feeling there's a better way? Or is there a quick fix for the formatting issue mentioned above?

1 Answer 1


the_content() and the_excerpt(), unlike their 'get_' brothers will process the content through some functions, one of them is wpautop() that will add p tags for you. To get the same formatting for both excerpt and content:

if ( has_excerpt() ) {
} else {
  the_content(__('Read more'));
  • Lovely! Thanks for the tip (I knew of wpautop() but didn't realize it did more than enclosing in <p>s
    – FOR
    Mar 4, 2011 at 15:21

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