「質問が一つある」

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May 31, 2011 22:45 Japanese_language 「です」 「ます」 honorifics
As English speakers do not have the difference between polite and non-polite form, they may wonder what differences they are. Here are a few examples.

質問が一つある
It sounds like the writer is proud that he has a question. It should be:
質問が一つあります
一つ質問
質問を一つ
質問を一つをば (This is old Japanese, but sounds fine in this context.)
and so on.

あなたは 私の前の日記に覚えがあるのか?(a)
It sounds like the writer is accusing listeners of something. (In this sentence, he is charging that listeners remember something (not the opposite), since he has made a mistake in using “ある”.) It should be:
(みなさん、) 私の前の日記を覚えていますか?(b)
(みなさん、) 私の前の日記を覚えてる?(c)
(As for あなたは, see http://lang-8.com/satoshi/journals/914923/ )

However, the following is inappropriate.
(みなさん、) 私の前の日記を覚えてるか?(d) (This is a shortening of the following.)
(みなさん、) 私の前の日記を覚えているか?(e)
These sentences sound like the writer is accusing listeners of not remembering. The difference of (c) and (d) looks very little ―the only difference is whether か is there or not― ; however, they have very different meanings.