I fail to see why you wouldn't want to use functions for this. It is *much* better to use them as its far more simplistic than using it without:
function linkBuild($sLink, $sText = 'The link')
return sprintf('<a href="%s">%s</a>', $sLink, $sText);
Without a function you'll need to use eval.
$v = '<a href="$thevar">The link</a>';
$thevar = "yellow.html";
eval("echo \"" . addslashes($v) . "\";");
Ew. Not to mention that if $v ever contains any malicious instructions, it'll go ahead and issue those as well.