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  1. Abstract Given $n$ general points $p_1, p_2, \ldots , p_n \in{\mathbb{P}}^r$ it is natural to ask whether there is a curve of given degree $d$ and genus $g$ passing through them; by counting dimensions a natural conjecture is that such a curve exists if and only if $$\begin{equation*}n \leq \left\lfloor \frac{(r + 1)d - (r - 3)(g - 1)}{r - 1}\right\rfloor.\end{equation*}$$The case of curves with nonspecial hyperplane section was recently studied in [2], where the above conjecture was shown to hold with exactly three exceptions. In this paper, we prove a “bounded-error analog” for special linear series on general curves; more precisely we show that existence of such a curve subject to the stronger inequality $$\begin{equation*}n \leq \left\lfloor \frac{(r + 1)d - (r - 3)(g - 1)}{r - 1}\right\rfloor - 3.\end{equation*}$$Note that the $-3$ cannot be replaced with $-2$ without introducing exceptions (as a canonical curve in ${\mathbb{P}}^3$ can only pass through nine general points, while a naive dimension count predicts twelve). We also use the same technique to prove that the twist of the normal bundle $N_C(-1)$ satisfies interpolation for curves whose degree is sufficiently large relative to their genus, and deduce from this that the number of generalmore »points contained in the hyperplane section of a general curve is at least $$\begin{equation*}\min\left(d, \frac{(r - 1)^2 d - (r - 2)^2 g - (2r^2 - 5r + 12)}{(r - 2)^2}\right).\end{equation*}$$ As explained in [7], these results play a key role in the author’s proof of the maximal rank conjecture [9].« less