Drawing upon the theoretical framework of systemic functional linguistics, this study investigates seven highly frequent adverbial connectors of contrast (i.e. however, instead, nevertheless, though, on the other (hand), still and in contrast) across three language registers, with a view to assessing the (combined) impact of lexis and register on their placement and discourse functions. The results show that both the frequency and positioning of the connectors investigated vary significantly across registers. In addition, the connectors investigated display clear lexical preferences, with each connector exhibiting its own distinctive placement pattern. When looking at both register and lexis simultaneously, two main types of placement profiles emerge: while some connectors display very stable placement profiles across registers, other lexical items exhibit rather variable patterns depending on the register in which they are used. In other words, whereas some connectors tend to display strong lexical priming, others exhibit some degree of what we might call stylistic priming. The study also provides some evidence of the benefits of a combination of systemic functional linguistics with corpus linguistics, notably with respect to the study of the Rheme.