Additionally, precedence of negated patterns is exactly as outlined in
the DESCRIPTION section, we don't need to repeat this.

Signed-off-by: Karsten Blees <>

I also force-pushed to git:// kb/gitignore-doc.

 Documentation/gitignore.txt | 19 +++++++++++++++++--
 1 file changed, 17 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/gitignore.txt b/Documentation/gitignore.txt
index f971960..205e80e 100644
--- a/Documentation/gitignore.txt
+++ b/Documentation/gitignore.txt
@@ -79,8 +79,10 @@ PATTERN FORMAT
  - An optional prefix "`!`" which negates the pattern; any
    matching file excluded by a previous pattern will become
-   included again.  If a negated pattern matches, this will
-   override lower precedence patterns sources.
+   included again. It is not possible to re-include a file if a parent
+   directory of that file is excluded. Git doesn't list excluded
+   directories for performance reasons, so any patterns on contained
+   files have no effect, no matter where they are defined.
    Put a backslash ("`\`") in front of the first "`!`" for patterns
    that begin with a literal "`!`", for example, "`\!important!.txt`".
@@ -182,6 +184,19 @@ Another example:
 The second .gitignore prevents Git from ignoring
+Example to exclude everything except a specific directory `foo/bar`
+(note the `/*` - without the slash, the wildcard would also exclude
+everything within `foo/bar`):
+    $ cat .gitignore
+    # exclude everything except directory foo/bar
+    /*
+    !/foo
+    /foo/*
+    !/foo/bar

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