A minor breach is a partial or immaterial breach or a breach where there has been substantial performance. The non-breaching party cannot sue for specific performance but can sue for actual damages.
A material breach is any failure to perform that permits the other party to either compel performance or collect damages because of the breach.
The Restatement (Second) of Contracts lists the following criteria to determine whether a specific failure constitutes a breach:
In determining whether a failure to render or to offer performance is material, the following circumstances are significant:
(a) the extent to which the injured party will be deprived of the benefit which he reasonably expected; (b) the extent to which the injured party can be adequately compensated for the part of that benefit of which he will be deprived; (c) the extent to which the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will suffer forfeiture; (d) the likelihood that the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will cure his failure, taking account of all the circumstances including any reasonable assurances; (e) the extent to which the behavior of the party failing to perform or to offer to perform comports with standards of good faith and fair dealing.
A fundamental breach is a breach so fundamental that it permits the aggrieved party to terminate performance of the contract. That party is also entitled to sue for damages.
An anticipatory breach is an undeniable indication that one party will not perform when performance is due, or a situation in which future non-performance is inevitable. An anticipatory breach gives the non-breaching party the option to treat the breach as immediate and terminate the contract. The party can also sue for damages without waiting for the breach to actually take place.