I like these, and I think they are conveying the right amount of
information. There is a slight discrepancy between the <branch> and
<commit> versions, where it seems we are assuming that by checking out
a commit you are intending to work 'on top of' it. This could be
avoided by using the term 'with' in both cases. Also, they are in
different tenses, but I'm not sure which is preferred ('Prepare to' vs
'To prepare for').
In the second tense, these opening lines might look like this:
+ To prepare for working with <branch>, switch to it by updating
+ To prepare for working with <commit>, detach HEAD at it
+ (see "DETACHED HEAD" section), and update the index and the
+ files in the working tree.
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