Let's say I want to give the first paragraph bold text by adding a body class to the first paragraph. Is there a way to filter the output of


or any other paragraph? First paragraph? Last paragraph?

I know I can do this using Javascript or CSS (:firstchild), but is there a native WordPress way?



1 Answer 1


The following bit of code adds a class to the first paragraph output by the_content:

function first_paragraph($content){
    return preg_replace('/<p([^>]+)?>/', '<p$1 class="intro">', $content, 1);
add_filter('the_content', 'first_paragraph');

Add the above to your theme's functions.php file.

Then in your CSS add something like:

p.intro { font-weight:bold; }

I can't claim credit for this solution (see this thread in the WP forums) but I tested it and it worked great for me in WordPress 3.3.2. You should be able to modify it as needed to target whichever paragraph your heart desires.

  • 2
    There is an issue with this: If there is already a class assigned, you will end up with two class attributes.
    – mor7ifer
    May 9, 2012 at 23:26
  • 1
    @m0r7if3r Plus: It won't work for anything than the 1st paragraph
    – kaiser
    May 10, 2012 at 0:21
  • @m0r7if3r, can you help me understand when that would be an issue?
    – Ryan
    May 11, 2012 at 18:28
  • @Ryan Absolutely. If the first <p> of the_content looks like <p class="any_class more_classes">, it will be automatically replaced with <p class="intro"> rather than becoming something like <p class="any_class more_classes intro'>. As I consider it now, I believe it might be possible to design a regex that would do the classname extraction for you...
    – mor7ifer
    May 12, 2012 at 2:55
  • @Ryan Absolutely, Thanks! It worked. This option enables us to call a specific part of the_content(), right? Do you know how to call the first paragraph into a the_content() function?
    – user16074
    May 13, 2012 at 16:13

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