One Story now and then asks for donations, because the magazine is a non-profit and doesn't run ads. Clifford Garstang pointed out that a recent solicitation included this description of the "Editor" donation level:
Editor: $100 – I’ll pay one author for their storyMr. Garstang notes that there is, according to certain interpretations of English usage, a problem with agreement between the one author and the plural pronoun their.
What he doesn't say, though, is that One Story is simply showing their respect for the history of English literature and the language itself. According to the indispensible Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage, here are some of the writers who have used this construction:
Chaucer: "And whoso fyndeth hym out of swich blame,/They wol come up..." ("The Pardoner's Prologue")For further exploration of this fine tradition, click here.
Shakespeare: "And every one to rest themselves betake" ("The Rape of Lucrece")
The King James Bible: "...if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses"
Jane Austen: "I would have everybody marry if they can do it properly" (Mansfield Park)
Thackeray: "A person can't help their birth" (Vanity Fair)
W.H. Auden: "...it is too hideous for anyone in their senses to buy" (Encounter, Feb. 1955)