Not sure why this seemingly elementary function is so difficult to perform, but I've spent a lot of time scouring the web, incorporating the suggestions and not getting the intended output.

On the single post template I would like to display the categories like this:

Parent, Child, Child

If there are no children, it will just be:


I would also like the option to remove the href. Currently I have:

  $cat = get_the_category();
  $allCats = $cat[0]->cat_ID;
  echo get_category_parents( $allCats, false, ',' ); 

This doesn't work in two ways:

1) It's missing one of my 3 categories

2) It's adding a comma after the last category (there should be 3rd a category here)

The standard code:

 <?php the_category(', ')?>

prints all three categories, but I don't have the option to strip the href, and they are in this incorrect order:


I'm guessing there will be a super simple way to do this but it's not super simple to find online! Any help appreciated :)

  • Anonymous markdowns are so useful, well done! Mar 21, 2019 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


Here is code snippet from WordPress that display the categories (or terms from other taxonomies) assigned to a post ordered by parent-child category relationship.This example must be used inside the loop.

$taxonomy = 'category';

// Get the term IDs assigned to post.
$post_terms = wp_get_object_terms( $post->ID, $taxonomy, array( 'fields' => 'ids' ) );

// Separator between links.
$separator = ', ';

if ( ! empty( $post_terms ) && ! is_wp_error( $post_terms ) ) {

    $term_ids = implode( ',' , $post_terms );

    $terms = wp_list_categories( array(
        'title_li' => '',
        'style'    => 'none',
        'echo'     => false,
        'taxonomy' => $taxonomy,
        'include'  => $term_ids
    ) );

    $terms = rtrim( trim( str_replace( '<br />',  $separator, $terms ) ), $separator );

    // Display post categories.
    echo  $terms;

Information on this page may help you to adjust the code to your requirements. I hope this will help.

  • Thanks - this has provided the correct sorting (Parent, Child, Child), but there is still no space after the comma and they are links. I will check the link you posted to fine tune. It still seems crazy to me that it takes so many lines of code to do a fairly elementary task. Parent > Child sorting should be straight out of the box IMO. Feb 25, 2019 at 14:49

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