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In this work, we investigate whether the analysis of opinion expressions can help in scoring persuasive essays. For this, we develop systems that predict holistic essay scores based on features extracted from opinion expressions, topical elements, and their combinations. Experiments on test taker essays show that essay scores produced using opinion features are indeed correlated with human scores. Moreover, we find that combining opinions with their targets (what the opinions are about)doi:10.3115/v1/w15-0608 dblp:conf/bea/FarraSB15 fatcat:r6fkczkt25dnzhdt44vrxph43m