The genitive case has many other functions other than expressing possession. One important function is to provide explanation, definition, or description. Another function is to indicate a quality or a feature. Compound nouns can be composed of two parts, where the second part is the main part and the first part acts as a modifier that specifies, determines, or qualifies the following part.
In the previous senses, what is the difference between the following expressions?
- Der Strahl der Hoffnung -- Der Hoffnungsstrahl
- Die Strafe der Verbannung -- Die Verbannungsstrafe
- Das Ticket erster Klasse -- Das Ersteklasseticket
Is it only a matter of how we understand the expression? For example, Die Verbannungsstrafe is a type of punishment considering we have a list of different kinds of punishments, while in Die Strafe der Verbannung I am describing here the type of punishment or explaining what kind of punishment it is. Just nuances in meaning?