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Example sentence:

The path branches (out) into three small paths.

Is out necessary? Why or why not?

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    'Out' in this case is one of the myriad auxiliary 'directions' English speakers add as padding. You can climb up or down, but you can only point out. Stand down is not the opposite of stand up; sit down is. You can't branch in, only out; though you could simply branch - out is already implicit. I'm not surprised these can be confusing. Commented May 21, 2022 at 13:42

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"Branch out" means "extend or expand one's activities or interests in a new direction." So it is not really the appropriate word to use here.

"The path branches" or "The path divides" would be better.

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    ...and smaller paths "branch off" from the main path. Commented May 21, 2022 at 6:07

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