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Parentless Categories

Like the_category(), list categories assigned to a post, but excluding assigned categories that have a child category also assigned to the post.

Template Tags

The plugin provides three optional template tags for use in your theme templates.


  • <?php function c2c_parentless_categories( $separator = '', $post_id = false ) ?> Outputs the parentless categories.

  • <?php function c2c_get_parentless_categories_list( $separator = '', $post_id = false ) ?> Gets the list of parentless categories.

  • <?php function c2c_get_parentless_categories( $post_id = false, $omit_ancestors = true ) ?> Returns the list of parentless categories for the specified post.


  • $separator Optional argument. (string) String to use as the separator. Default is '', which indicates unordered list markup should be used.

  • $post_id Optional argument. (int) Post ID. If 'false', then the current post is assumed. Default is 'false'.

  • $omit_ancestors Optional argument. (bool) Should any ancestor categories be omitted from being listed? If false, then only categories that are directly assigned to another directly assigned category are omitted. Default is 'true'.


  • (See Description section)


The plugin is further customizable via five hooks.

c2c_parentless_categories (action), c2c_get_parentless_categories_list, c2c_get_parentless_categories (filters)

These actions and filters allow you to use an alternative approach to safely invoke each of the identically named function in such a way that if the plugin were deactivated or deleted, then your calls to the functions won't cause errors on your site.


  • (see respective functions)


Instead of:

<?php c2c_parentless_categories( ',' ); ?>


<?php do_action( 'c2c_parentless_categories', ',' ); ?>

c2c_parentless_categories_list (filter)

The 'c2c_parentless_categories_list' filter allows you to customize or override function.


  • string $thelist : the generated list of categories with complete HTML markup, or __( 'Uncategorized' ) if the post didn't have any categories
  • string $separator : the separator specified by the user, or '' if not specified
  • int|false $post_id : the ID of the post, or false to indicate the current post Example:
// For comma-separated listings, append a special string
add_filter( 'c2c_parentless_categories_list', 'customize_c2c_parentless_categories_list' );
function c2c_parentless_categories_list( $thelist, $separator ) {
    // If not categorized, do nothing
    if ( __( 'Uncategorized' ) == $thelist ) {
        return $thelist;

    // Add a message after a comma separated listing.
    if ( ',' == $separator ) {
        $thelist .= " (* not all assigned categories are being listed)";

    return $thelist;

c2c_get_parentless_categories_omit_ancestors (filter)

The 'c2c_get_parentless_categories_omit_ancestors' filter allows you to customize or override the function argument indicating if ancestor categories of all directly assigned categories (even if directly assigned themselves) should be omitted from the return list of categories. By default, this argument is true.


  • bool $omit_ancestors : the $omit_categories argument sent to the function, otherwise implicitly assumed to be the default


// Don't omit ancestors unless they are the immediate parent of an assigned category
add_filter( 'c2c_get_parentless_categories_omit_ancestors', '__return_false' );

Requires: 3.6 or higher
Compatible up to: 4.5.5
Last Updated: 12 months ago
Active Installs: 100+


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