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I would use "was not" to refer to a specific time: "I was not able to access the Internet (this morning/yesterday/all last week)."
Your examples all speak of a span of time, which requires "have not been":
I haven't been able to access the Internet the last few days. I'm able to get on just fine now, though.
So why does "all last week" take "was not" while "for the last few days" takes "have not been"? "Was" is in the past. Since you make the point that you have access now, these other references to lack of access are in the past also, but "the last few days" borders on the present:
I'm sorry I haven't called. I've been sick for two weeks. I'm feeling much better today, though.
DocV, your phrase above sounds very much like the explanation most teachers - me included - give of the present perfect: we tend to say it describes an action that starts in the past and extends up to the present.
While I agree on the whole with what has been said so far in response to Subhajit's question, I would like to note an interesting exception, one that cannot properly be said to apply to Subhajit's sentences in the contextual vacuum in which we find them.
If, however, the context made it clear that "the last few days" referred not to the three days leading up to the moment of speech but, rather, to the last few days of a period of time in the past, Subhajit's sentences (1), (3), and (4) would actually work:
A: How did you like the class? B: It was fine, right up until the end. I was not able to access the Internet (for / during) the last few days.
In that context, it is understood that the phrase "the last few days" refers to "the last few days of the class," the class having taken place in the past. Not only could the past tense be used in this context, but the present perfect could not.
Hi all, thank you for your replies. Can I use prepositions while using the present perfect tense in this context like 'I have not been able to access the interenet for/during the last few days'. As far as I know we use for and since with present perfect when the situation continues upto the present. As I have said I am able to access the internet now, which denotes recent past, can I use a preposition in my sentence. This message has been edited. Last edited by: Subhajit123,