It was not clear from the "description" section of
git-branch(1) that using a <pattern> meant that you _had_ to
use the --list option. Let's clarify that, and while we're
at it, reword some clunky and ambiguous sentences.

Signed-off-by: Jeff King <>
 Documentation/git-branch.txt | 16 +++++++++-------
 1 file changed, 9 insertions(+), 7 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/git-branch.txt b/Documentation/git-branch.txt
index 45a225e..01aa87f 100644
--- a/Documentation/git-branch.txt
+++ b/Documentation/git-branch.txt
@@ -22,13 +22,15 @@ DESCRIPTION
-With no arguments, existing branches are listed and the current branch will
-be highlighted with an asterisk.  Option `-r` causes the remote-tracking
-branches to be listed, and option `-a` shows both. This list mode is also
-activated by the `--list` option (see below).
-<pattern> restricts the output to matching branches, the pattern is a shell
-wildcard (i.e., matched using fnmatch(3)).
-Multiple patterns may be given; if any of them matches, the branch is shown.
+If `--list` is given, or if there are no non-option arguments, existing
+branches are listed; the current branch will be highlighted with an
+asterisk.  Option `-r` causes the remote-tracking branches to be listed,
+and option `-a` shows both local and remote branches. If a `<pattern>`
+is given, it is used as a shell wildcard to restrict the output to
+matching branches. If multiple patterns are given, a branch is shown if
+any it is matched by any of the patterns.  Note that when providing a
+`<pattern>`, you must use `--list`; otherwise the command is interpreted
+as branch creation.
 With `--contains`, shows only the branches that contain the named commit
 (in other words, the branches whose tip commits are descendants of the

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